New Day Visit to Matara Girls Home, Sri Lanka – November, 2017

In 2015, New Day held a charity walk across Lantau to raise funding for the Matara Girl’s Home in Sri Lanka.  The event was a tremendous success, raising north of US$80,000.  One of the key reasons we selected the Matara Girl’s Home for the event was a recognition during one of our site visits that the Home was in desperate need of capital investment, revealed by the extensive water damage visible on the walls in the back part of the home.  This would be costly, but it was a necessary investment.  We resolved to replace the roof and make the home safer and ensure the long term viability of the home. 

During 2017 New Day has been working closely with the Matara staff on the planning and implementation of the works program.   For the past many months, work has been underway at the home to replace the roof and undertake material improvements to the kitchen, dining, nursing and laundry facilities.  The work did reveal extensive decay in the roof, ceiling and support structures to the point of representing a safety hazard to the girls living there. 

This October, Chris visited the home to see view the extensive work being undertaken.  It was a terrific visit.  The Girl’s Home is being transformed and radically improved.  We have had to deal with a number of obstacles and ensure our funding is stretched a long way to get the work completed.  Between the operational costs, funding of the after school education and the capital improvements, New Day will have provided funding of approximately US$50,000 in 2017.  We have also been using the funding from the hike to pay for the operational costs of the home in 2017 and will be doing so again in 2018.  Without the Lantau fund raising event, the capital works program would not have been possible.  Without New Day, the work being done at Matara would never have happened.

 What New Day has achieved in Matara in terms of providing operational, educational and now capital support is an incredible gift to the girls that live there.  The staff and volunteers that run the Girl’s Home are thankful to New Day to the point of tears.  New Day Members should feel proud of our achievements with this Project, which we will continue to support in 2018.

 

 

New Day HK Fund – Meetings with Splash and Teen’s Key

The HK Fund team met with our two grantees, Splash Foundation and Teen’s Key to meet their team and get an update on our funded projects. 

Splash – In October, New Day members Roxanne Ismail, Elizabeth Thomson, Liza Green and Susan Clear met with Splash Founders Simon Holliday and Libby Alexander.  Simon and Libby gave the team an update on their website development (which New Day is funding) as well as exciting plans for the future expansion of Splash.

Teen’s Key – In September Liza Green and Stephanie Schmidt visited the Teen’s Key offices and met Bowie Lam, the Founder and director and her 2 colleagues, an outreach worker and social worker. Stephanie summarised the visit as follows: “Liza and I came away very inspired by 3 (very) young women with limitless energy and passion for assisting vulnerable and high risk young girls in Hong Kong. Bowie had a very clear present and future vision for Teens Key. They are currently working hard to expand their charity networks and partners and exploring ways to diversify their funding sources.”

Liza also had the opportunity to meet Bowie again at the STARS Foundation conference along with Seila Samleang, from New Day grantee APLE Cambodia.  Both Teen’s Key and APLE are STARS Foundation awardees.

Seng Girls Visit Hong Kong – October, 2017

Update from Jane and Dan Chavasse

New Day have supported this wonderful group of girls since 2008.  Their home is the Darlag based SGVTS school high on the Tibetan plateau housing 120 vulnerable girls.  A group of twelve girls are selected from an enthusiastic and talented school community and are aged around 14-18 years old. The Seng Girls are then sent to a specialist Dance school in Xining which gives them not only professional dance training but a mainstream education recognised on the mainland. This offers them three routes off the plateau , professional dance , tourist industry employment or further education. Interest and support of Ethnic minorities and how their Cultural histories may be of interest to Chinese tourists is growing locally but an education in Putonghua is imperative .

New Day hosted this group in 2016.  It was their debut in Hong Kong and they were very excited to be here. Dockpo, their teacher , and the girls billeted with several families who introduced them to family life in our city. We had an informal dance show from them and they drew us in to their culture and warm hearts. Dockpo always said he wanted to come back and we were delighted when he called us in September and said that he and the girls would come back to Hong Kong on October 23 for a two day visit. Just a few visas,  passports,travel permission and the usual hurdles to overcome but why let that get in the way!

As we waited in Hung Hom to collect the group we were a little concerned over how the girls would feel on their return.We shouldn’t have worried. They ran out of the station with arms outstretched and wide smiles asking after their host families and we were off. There was only one unexpected and very unwelcome surprise….Typhoon 8 signal was hoisted and remained stubbornly so! 

The New Day team had been working hard at setting up the full theatre experience at West Island, dinner was planned at Cyberport ( generously donated by New Day members Leesa and Brian Downie) and the ISF were hosting the Group on the Monday . At one point the trip looked like it could just not deliver what we had promised.That is, a new audience who may be inspired to donate, HKAPA /LCSD exposure and a professional setting that could offer the girls an opportunity to develop their dancing careers in the future. However the New Day team are not defeatists so using Greenery Gardens as a rallying point we gathered a strong local crowd who came armed with drinks, snacks and cash. The squash court provided the unlikely venue and the girls threw themselves into their costumes and gave us a highly memorable performance. Everyone adapted so brilliantly. After a beautiful traditional dance the girls lit up the room with a piece that they had choreographed themselves. With lively contemporary music and “dab” moves knitted in to the dance , the crowd went wild. Then to top it off they invited the children in the audience to join in and learn a few moves. Boys and girls alike lept to their feet and it was tremendous to see . The fun was reciprocated by an invitation from the local children to the Seng Girls to play ” football” outside as the adults enjoyed a wine or two amazed at the outcome of the day. One of the local children and a host, Grace Early , was so inspired by the encounter that she cut off her beautiful hair for sponsorship and raised over HKD 6000 for the girls.

Monday was another highlight of the Seng Girls’ trip. Roxanne Ismail had organised for the girls to give a ” masterclass ” to the Drama students at the ISF school followed by a lunchtime show to the school as a whole . It was a wonderful performance and a material introduction to the Group as the ISF wants to make them the girls the focus of fundraising and cultural exchange. Roxanne’s son already raised over HKD 9000 is a jumper sale with product donated by the Italian women’s association. They also called for a warm clothes collection and gathered 22 suitcases of great quality clothing that the girls managed to get back to Tibet to distribute with their fellow students from the little four year olds all the way up to the teachers. It should also be mentioned that local parents also generously gave to this collection.Thank you.

Finally we bade the Group farewell on Tuesday morning. The Girls have developed much in the last year with English levels and dance skills tangibly stronger. Many of them will graduate next year and will hope to keep their ambitions for sustainable careers alive. We hope to see them again next year and we will keep everyone posted on their development. They are truly grateful for the support they receive and we can feel proud that we have set some of the foundations for them going forward.

New Day makes grant to Seng girls in Xining School of Performing Arts – Update August 2017

New Day makes grant to Seng girls in Xining School of Performing Arts – update from Dan and Jane Chavasse

This week New Day made a further grant to the Seng girls studying at the Performing Arts school in Xining. This is the fourth grant to this group of students-covering their fees and living expenses for another 12 months and comes with the news from Dock Po that the girls have been selected to attend a prestigious Beijing dance school this summer. It is wonderful that as the girls reach their final year at Xining that their talent is being recognised at a national level and hopefully this will lead to career opportunities when they graduate. Sadly, three girls have not made the grade and will leave the school but this underlines the meritocratic philosophy that was explained to them on arrival. Dock Po is confident that he can find them employment and the grounding they have had at the school has been vital. New Day are also supporting two further (slightly older) girls in Xining who care for the core group. They are on a computer studies and leadership course. We are delighted that the objectives of the program that New Day has been supporting for the last 3 years are broadly being met

SGVTS School update

In the school on the plateau in Darlag there are now 130 girls. Many New Day members generously donated warm clothing and funds for radiators and insulation, as well as a water heater. Dock Po reports that the girls came through a freezing winter as well as ever and that ‘there was not one case of frostbite’. It is telling that this is the measure of success in these brutal conditions.

He has appointed a new headmaster who has made some changes to the teaching staff and he reports that morale is high and the girls are in good spirits. Part of the challenge is attracting talented teachers to work in such demanding conditions and he has managed to appoint some nationally qualified female teachers who are making an impact already. Dock Po has secured high school places in Jigdzi for a further 11 girls who are reaching the end of their time in Darlag, for which he may require funding. This is a crucial part of his role-securing places in further education to allow girls a choice in their future. Many do indeed return to the plateau, but they return with transferable and marketable skills – and the opportunity to move away from abject poverty as nomadic herders.

We are delighted that Dock Po plans to visit Hong Kong on 15 October with the same group of girls that visited last year. He is very keen to meet New Day members and also for the girls to put on their show. 

 

 

New Day HK Fund Supports Teens Key and Splash

The New Day HK Fund invited applications for all or part of the HK$100,000 available grant money. The HK Fund Committee members were delighted to receive applications from a number of organisations doing great work for worthy causes in Hong Kong. Many New Day members have been interested in learning more about HK grassroots work, and the HK Fund application exercise has been interesting and eye-opening from that point of view. We have had to make the difficult decision of how to apply our funding. In the end, the committee was firmly united in choosing 2 charities to be this year’s grantees. (Information about the other applicants who were unsuccessful in this year’s exercise can be provided on request).

We will donate $60,000 to Teen’s Key. It’s mission is to protect young women and girls of approx 13-25 years old in the sex industry. This is clearly precisely within our mission statement. The project to be funded will provide outreach support, including health tests and medical referrals, counselling and continuing education and vocational training. More information about Teen’s Key is available at www.teenskey.org.

Photo: Teen’s Key
Photo credit to Michael Kistler

We will also donate $40,000 to Splash which conducts swimming and safety courses for under-served communities who may not have access to swimming lessons ( particularly foreign domestic workers). The work of Splash has also led to the development of a mutually supportive community. The project to be funded is the development of online tools in relevant languages so that pool practice time is used optimally. More information about Splash is available at www.splashfoundation.org.

Photo by Adriana Lica: Splash

We aim to meet these 2 charities soon. The use of funds and project outcomes will be monitored within the 12-month period after grant.

Should any New Day Members be interested in involvement in the HK Fund, please contact hkfund@newdayasia.org.

New Day launches the New Day Hong Kong Fund – April 2017

New Day is excited to announce the New Day Hong Kong Fund. We have allocated a HK$100,000 fund, to be allocated as a number of one-off grants, for Hong Kong based charities, with mandates that fit New Day’s mission.  To propose a Hong Kong based project to New Day for funding, please complete the form NewDayHongKong_ApplicationforFunding2017.doc, and e-mail it to hkfund@newdayasia.org, by 31 May 2017.

Applications should not exceed two pages, excluding attachments. They should be submitted using Arial, Size 10, and single spaced. To find out more, please visit the Hong Kong Fund project page.

New Day funds major construction at Matara Girls Home in Sri Lanka – March 2017

After standing for 80 years in the wet and humid climate of Matara in southern Sri Lanka, the Matara Home was in need of major renovation work – replacing large parts of the roof and undertaking painting and repair work throughout the downstairs areas.  New Day was delighted to be able to reach into the kitty of funds collected for this purpose during the 2015 New Day Lantau Challenge and be able to fund these works with a US$35,000 grant.

After months of careful planning and consulting with a number of architects and contractors as well as numerous planning calls with Chris at New Day, work finally began at the beginning of March.  Despite the disruption, the girls and staff are excited about these much needed renovation works and very grateful for the support New Day has provided.

Here are some photos of the construction along with mural paintings the girls have completed in their spare time while they are not allowed to be indoors due to the construction work.  We are all excited to see the finished product in the next few months!

Update from Seng Girls studying in Xining – April 2017

New Day continues our support of the 14 Seng girls studying in Xining – 12 studying dancing and art at the Xining Performing Arts school and 2 older girls studying computer studies and also charged with caring for the younger school students.  We have received their school reports and the girls’ grades are good, all receiving positive reports from the school.  You can look at their reports here:14+Students+Report+20170110

Part of our funding also pays the salary of DockPo’s project Manager and right hand man, Shawo, who lives in Xining and keeps a close eye on the 14 girls.

It has been a bitterly cold winter up at the Seng Girls’Home and School on the Golog plateau with DockPo and the girls snowed in for the past few months.  The heating system that New Day installed in October last year has made a real difference to their comfort throughout the cold weather.

 

 

 

New Day funds APLE Cambodia – January to June 2017

In January 2017, New Day made a bridging grant to APLE as they carry out a restructuring of their activities given a strategic focus shift.  The grant of US$12,500 funds the Court Support Program, including activity and program costs and partial cover of staff salaries.

In June 2017 this grant closed and New Day has successfully completed our funding relationship with APLE.  You can read their final report here: Semester Report (Jan-Jun 2017)_New Day Asia

It has been a pleasure and privilege to work with APLE over the past 5 years and support their essential work in Cambodia.  APLE Director Seila Samleang and his team have committed themselves to tirelessly work against Child Sexual Abuse in the country and represent the victims and their families in the court system.  We admire their dedication and will continue to promote them where possible.

You can read the latest annual report from APLE here: 2016 Annual Report

 

New Day Visits APLE, Phnom Penh – October 2016

On 18 October, Liza Green met with the APLE team in Phnom Penh to receive an update on the New Day 2016 grant to fund their Court Support Program.  The New Day contribution to this program is mainly the salary cover for 1 lawyer and a legal assistant along with covering proportions of other salary costs at the organisation.  The Court Support program provides Crisis Intervention, Legal Court Support and Social Court support to victims and their families as well as awareness training sessions.

The court process can take between 3-5 years and APLE is present throughout this time span.  From January to October 2016 APLE had provided social support to 134 victims, represented 70 victims in court and helped to convict 28 offenders.

You can read a full update report here: NDA Grant Update – Oct 2016

 

New Day provides new heating system for Seng Girls’ Home – November 2016

After tireless research and planning by New Day members Dan and Jane Chavasse, New Day and the Seng Home settled on a plan to install a sustainable heating system at the Home in Golog where winter temperatures can reach minus 40 degrees Celsius.  A grant of HK$55,000 was made to the Home in November.  The system involved placing insulation panels inside and outside the dormitories and classrooms (as seen in the photos below) and upgrading the boiler to power radiators throughout the rooms.  A positive side effect of the installation will also be a warmer laundry room where the girls can wash their clothes during the winter months.

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New Day makes annual grant to Matara Girls’ Home – November 2016

In November New Day made our annual grant to Matara Girls Home.  The grant of US$39,000 includes funds to cover their entire annual operating costs (salaries of matrons, accountant and counsellor, food, clothing, utilities, etc) plus the extra-curricular education program for the girls – sewing, music, art, dance and academic tutorial lessons.  An amount of US$10,000 is earmarked for renovation work needed at the home, mainly the refurbishment of the kitchen and dining areas with purchase of new appliances, cabinets and lights as well as the painting of the interior of the Home.

Highlights to note:

  • There are currently 27 girls at the Home
  • New Day has requested that there be a push to improve the academic support for the older girls taking O levels and they are receiving supplemental tutoring
  • One girls who passed her A levels is currently studying nursing.  She has chosen to remain at the Home while she studies and receives a stipend from New Day to act as additional caretaker for the younger girls.

We are sharing the thank you note from Matara for all New Day members and also some photos of the artwork and embroidery produced as a result of the extra lessons:

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Artwork produced by the girls and recently sold at the Home.  All proceeds are deposited into each girls' savings book.

Artwork and embroidery produced by the girls and recently sold at the Home. All proceeds are deposited into each girls’ savings book.

 

LOVEQTRA Seng Girls’ Home Update – September 2016

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DockPo, Founder of the Seng Home, with the 14 girls studying at the Performing Arts School in Xining.

Seng Girls’ school celebrates 10 year anniversary! – Dan Chavasse

During the summer this important milestone was reached and to mark the occasion the girls were bused about an hour away from the school to celebrate amongst the Tibetan grasslands. The anniversary coincided with the Dari County celebration and the girls enjoyed 3 days of feasting and watching traditional Tibetan sports, whilst camping under the stars. The school’s Opera Troupe also performed – a source of great pride to the some 160 girls that are now under the founder Dock Po’s care.

As many members know, New Day have been supporting the school since 2008 and we have just authorised a further grant for 2016-17. This will be spent on the 14 girls who have graduated to the Performing Arts School in the regional city, Xining, paying their tuition fees and living expenses. This is their third and final year at the school before they graduate with recognised qualifications, so important in their next step of embarking on a career. Many will seek work as professional dancers, but the school also teaches all the core academic subjects. Twice a year, we receive each girl’s written report and progress continues to be strong across the majority of the girls that we support. The school sets high standards and does not allow poor performance-fortunately all the girls have retained their places moving into the final year.

At weekends the girls share a flat in Xining and New Day pays the rent and covers their living expenses, as well as supporting two older girls who are on vocational training in the city and act as the girls’ guardians.

Dock Po is incredibly busy with day to day management and so requests for feedback were often overlooked or delayed. In light of this, earlier in the year New Day agreed to fund the salary of a man called Shawo who acts as an administrator and finance manager for the school. He is based in Xining and since his appointment communication has improved enormously. 

We are currently working with Shawo to evaluate how we can improve the heating situation in the school in Darlag. Temperatures in the winter can drop to -40 degrees and so water based central heating systems are prone to problems. The girls frequently wash their hair and clothes in the open yard with cold water from a standpipe. We hope to have a cost effective alternative for members to consider funding before the onset of winter.

We have just had a very positive update call as the school continues to grow and develop. Best of all – the girls are coming to Hong Kong! New Day members have had a profound impact on these girls’ lives and due to the remote location of the school, Dock Po is acutely aware that he has only met a handful of members. He really wants to showcase his girls dancing and meet members first hand so he can share some of the heart warming stories that make supporting projects such as this one tangible and worthwhile. Hopefully as many as possible can meet him and the girls on Sunday 23 October for a performance followed by a picnic supper at Deep Water Bay. More details to follow!

 

New Day Visit to Matara Girl’s Home – July 2016


Visit to Matara Girls Home – Louise Sullivan


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We were so excited to visit the girls in Matara in July. My dream was to be able to combine a wonderful family holiday with being able to make a difference in some way and be a part of our New Day initiatives. My son (9) decided to raise money and buy the girls some stationary. He sold cakes and toys in our building to raise money and went shopping to select everything he wanted to give the girls. My daughter (6) was more cautious about visiting the Home.

We were welcomed like VIPs by the girls, the home staff and the girl’s teachers. We got to meet the wonderful community of people who support the girls on a day-to-day basis. The girls presented their beautiful art work along one part of the hall. We were treated to an hour of singing, dancing, and music performed by the girls. They were very nervous, but did a beautiful job. The girl who did the announcements in English, introducing each act was particularly nervous. Mily told us that, that day was her first day replacing the oldest girl who usually does this job. The older girl who is 17 will soon be leaving the home, and so her jobs are being handed down to the next in line.20160803-ip6p-matara-girls-home-visit-010

There are a few girls who will be shortly leaving the home now that they are approaching 18. One girl has recently left to live with her mother and sister in a small room while she completes her nursing qualification. The home will continue to support her tuition and basics until they ensure she is self-sufficient. The girl leaving is sad to leave what has become her family home, but is set up to succeed and comes back to visit the girls regularly. Earlier in the year another girl was successfully married to a boy from a nearby orphanage who happens to have a small inheritance so that they can start their life together. In each case we could see that while in the home, each girl is prepared in the best way possible to be able to create a sustainable healthy life after she leaves the home.

20160803-nikon-matara-girls-home-performance-007Mily and staff do their best to create a secure stable home. Each year the home has a turn over of girls staying. Over the past year the home has lost and received up to 8 new girls. In fact while we were there, a new girl had been dropped off by the police in the middle of the night the previous night. Mily explained that while the community often contributes various in-kind support and is very generous in what they provide the home, prior to New Day’s support income was inconsistent and she could not afford to pay for good staff. Since the New Day contribution, one of the many things they have been able to do is afford to pay the wonderful women and men who look after the girls and offer a stable, loving and secure environment. Since the New Day funding they have had the same 2 matrons with the girls.

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We were treated to afternoon tea prepared by the girls themselves and shown around the home. They have beautiful new cupboards courtesy of New Day, and a comfortable room to sleep with a bed each, their mosquito net and their teddy bear. Mily showed us the repair work that has already taken place around the home using New Day funding. The home is in need of painting and some further repair. We also saw a small playground being constructed in the back yard.As a special treat, the next day New Day sponsored a day out for the girls. We went to a museum celebrating the life of a famous Sri Lankan author Martin Wickramasinghe. Most of the girls have studied his work but never visited the museum. Afterwards we enjoyed lunch together at a simple restaurant where the girls could run around in the playground. It was also wonderful seeing my son and daughter playing together with the girls as their shyness from the day before decreased. The park and restaurant was located across the road from the Sri Lankan Airforce base, so one of the highlights was that the girls got to board an airplane for the first time in their lives! It was a wonderful day out for us, and a special memorable one for the girls.

We were humbled by our visit and are very grateful to be a part of New Day and the Matara initiative. It could be easy to get overwhelmed by the enormous need in Sir Lanka or globally for that matter. There are so many communities in need. Yet what I most appreciate about New Day is the specificity and quality in which the projects are chosen and undertaken. The clear result of our funding going to ensuring that at any given time, 20 something girls are being effectively prepared to lead productive healthy lives.20160804-ip6p-outing-with-the-matara-girls-011

 

 

 

 

LOVEQTRA, China February 2016 – End of Term Update from 14 girls studying in Xining

End of Term update from the girls New Day supports at the Performing Arts School in Xining, Qinghai province – Dan Chavasse

We have just heard that all the girls had an excellent First Semester, with most passing their professional majors (ie. dance or painting). Sadly, three failed and they will now be given additional tuition to help with the re-takes. We have been sent all the girls’ reports and the grades are generally very high, even in the core academic subjects of Chinese, English and Maths. Inevitably there are some weaknesses but the school and the charity we support are focused on rectifying these. As ever, we must not forget the academic mountain these girls have had to climb to be awarded a place in this prestigious school and they now compete with peers from more comfortable, urban backgrounds. The goal is a nationally recognised high school qualification at the end of the school year in 2017: this will hopefully facilitate their passage into either further study or employment.

On a lighter note, the girls will be appearing on TV over Chinese New Year! With the full support of the Performing Arts School, their Tibetan Opera continues to gain notoriety around the country and they have been filmed for a performance that will air over the coming weeks. Here are the latest pictures:

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New Day funds APLE, Cambodia – January 2016

In January 2015 New Day made our 4th annual grant to APLE.  The US$25,000 will fund direct staff costs for their Court Support program that provides social work and legal support for victims and their families as their cases go through the court system in Cambodia.

We are pleased to continue our support of APLE and are proud of their recent achievement winning the international 2015 STAR Impact Award from the STAR Foundation.

We have the following summary of developments from our recent update with the organisation:

Call with Seila Samleang, APLE Country Director – January 12, 2016

APLE was established in 2003 as an international NGO and in 2014 became a fully Cambodian NGO with offices in Phnom Penh, Siem Riep, Sihanoukville and Battambang.  From 2003 to 2015 APLE rescued 746 victims from further abuse and assisted in the convictions of 251 sex offenders.  It also trained 10,698 individuals in communities and law enforcement.  APLE started a strategic planning journey in September 2014, finishing in November 2015.  It’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan includes a new mission, vision and core pillars of focus.

The motivation to undergo this strategic plan is to rational its services and focus and limit its output to its specialist areas, leaving areas where there is replication from partner NGOs.  It is also a cost effectiveness exercise.  It also wants to slowly hand over day to day investigative responsibilities to the Cambodian police through training and capacity building and mentorship.  APLE sees its cooperation with the Cambodia police as a key and unique feature, as well as the courts support it provides to victims both legally and from a social work perspective:

–  It will move away from a large team of investigators to a smaller team with investigators mentoring Cambodian police investigators to guide them through cases and build their capacity.  There has been a lot of resistance both from the Cambodian police and foreign law enforcement agencies that APLE will decrease its direct investigative capacity and activity.  APLE has agreed for this to be a slow process with the decrease happening hand in hand with the capacity building of the police.

– It will focus on its area of strength providing court support to victims and their families with two lawyers and a legal specialist on staff.  The legal specialist will be tasked with researching, advising and advocating to the Cambodian legal system and government to help to set up more comprehensive laws related to Child Sexual Abuse and  streamlined, efficient and child friendly court processes.

– It will focus on providing robust and specialist social worker support to victims and families as they go through the court process.

– It will work to train key members of the community in how to protect children from sexual abuse and identify potential abuse, building a committed informant network and running hotlines where members of the public can safely report on suspected cases.

APLE expects a slight decrease in staff Head count from 45 to 41.  They are looking to employ a grants manager, legal technical adviser and monitoring and evaluation specialist.

The APLE board was established in 2015 and is functioning well and providing support to the Country Director in strategic planning, expertise and fundraising.

 

New Day Member Meeting – January 26, 2016

On 26 January 2016, New Day held a member meeting in Hong Kong.  Chris and Liza Green along with Dan Chavasse gave an update on our membership, current financial situation, proposed funding for 2016 and developments at each of our supported projects:

  • Over HK$4,650,000 (US$600K) granted to date.
  • New day membership remains stable with 53 member contributions and monthly income of HK$39,116 per month.
  • Healthy cash balance going into 2016, thanks in large part to HK$674,308 raised in the October 2015 Lantau Challenge – all of these funds are earmarked to support the Matara Girls’ Home over the coming years.
  • Continued funding for our 3 anchor projects:  LOVEQTRA in Qinghai, China (scholarships and support for 14 girls studying at the Xining Arts School); APLE in Cambodia (funding for their Court Support program) and Matara Girls’ Home in Sri Lanka (running costs, capital expenses and education program for the 29 resident girls).
  • Excess funding capacity can be allocated to supplement funding for these 3 projects or could fund a new member-sponsored project.
  • You can view the presentation in full here: New Day Meet January 2016.  Below some photos from the New Day Lantau Challenge, October 31, 2015.

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New Day continues to support Performing Arts School girls in Xining, Qinghai Province – September 2015


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In September 2015, New Day funded a grant of USD 33,092 to support a group of 12 girls for the academic year 2015-2016. This is the second year that we have supported this group of girls who are receiving a core education alongside their studies in dance and painting. This second grant was agreed after we had received detailed reports on each girl on their progress so far. Some have found the step into formal high school education a major challenge as they are usually behind in core subjects and have to work hard at weekends to close the gap. Nevertheless, significant progress has been made and the school extended the offer to each and every girl to continue in the program, in itself a major achievement for the group. If they continue to thrive they will be awarded formal certificates when they graduate in 2017, allowing them to have infinitely more choices than had they remained as yak herders on the plateau (the fate of most girls in rural Tibet). These certificates will be recognized across China, allowing the girls to apply for further education or jobs in all geographic areas.

The girls live in the school during the week and share an apartment at weekends. This apartment has been developed into a training area as well as a living space (this development was funded by New Day in last year’s grant). This year’s grant will cover

-Tuition fees

-Living expenses

-Apartment rent

-Living and tuition costs (in another school) for 2 further (older) girls who support the core 12. They cook and clean for them when they return to the apartment at weekends.

Members of New Day will recall that this cohort of girls originate from the Seng Girls  school in Darlag, Golog, which is about 12 hours drive away on the Tibetan plateau.  This school is run by Dockpo (and his charity LOVEQTRA) and continues to flourish with some 160 girls from desperately impoverished backgrounds, the poorest of the poor. As well as core educational skills, the older girls are given vocational training in cooking and tailoring as well as the all-important Tibetan Opera troupe that tours China in the summer months. The major challenge is finding opportunities for the girls as they get older. Some are being educated in Shenzhen (at Project Eden http://captivating.org/blog/category/project-eden/), some have returned to schools in their home towns, seven are training to be medical assistants and New Day’s group of 12 are the pioneers at the Xining Performing Arts school.

Below are some pictures of the girls in their apartment:Desks Beds 2 girls at desk 2 girls at desk

kitchen girls eating at table

2015 New Day Grant to Matara Girls’ Home

New Day has funded a grant of US$28,100 for the period June 2015 to June 2016.  The grant will be disbursed in two bi-annual installments and spent according to ongoing consultation and agreements between the Matara committee and New Day.  The funds will primarily be used for tutoring and extra vocational classes and to cover the salaries of all staff at the home (matrons, admin officer, accountant, counselor and tutors).  Remaining grant money will cover operational expenses including building maintenance.

New Day is delighted to support Matara once again.

 

New Day Visit to Matara Girls’ Home – April 2015

Matara Girls, April 2015.

In April three New Day families visited the Matara Home on two separate occasions, introducing their children to the girls, meeting staff and teachers and joining in the celebrations as the Home marks its’ 80th year.  We were treated to a concert by the girls and attended an art exhibition that they held to auction off their beautiful paintings and handiwork.

Matara Buddhist Girls’ Home is located an hour south of Galle in Sri Lanka.  It is an orphanage caring for girls who are referred to by local social services.  Run on a a small budget and dependent on in-kind donations of food and goods from the community, the Home has limited access to outside funding.  Since June 2014 New Day has been providing anchor funding to pay staff salaries, provide after school activities and tutoring to the girls and take care of repairs and running costs as needed.  To get a feel for the project and the experience of visiting please enjoy the below site visit reports from New Day members Stephanie Early and Maxine Gross. you can also view a slide show here:  My Movie – Small

Dancing with the girls after their concert.

Dancing with the girls after their concert.

Paul and I and our 3 children were lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit Matara Home for Girls with Chris and Liza Green and their 3 children in April this year. From the moment we arrived we were greeted very warmly by the matrons and other staff and with big beautiful smiles from the 26 girls who live at the home.  There was lots of giggling and hiding behind one another as the girls showed us around their home, all of them feeling a little shy but at the same time extremely keen to interact with their visitors.  We spent some time playing some games to try and “break the ice” however most of the girls were distracted by their upcoming show that they were performing for us that afternoon.  There was much activity in the home finalizing costumes, warming up instruments and practicing dance moves.  We were ushered into the hall and joined by the girls’ teachers and other important members of the Matara home community.  It was lovely to speak with the teachers who are funded by New Day to provide the girls with extra curricular educational activities such as Dance, Science, English and Computers.  The teachers were all very positive about the girls progress, commitment and enjoyment of these classes.  It became apparent to me very quickly however that these extra curricular classes offered so much more than enjoyment and something to do after school.  These classes are vital for these girls to learn as much as they can and develop essential skills to better prepare them to navigate the world outside of Matara home when they turn 18.  In the absence of a dowry these girls have limited opportunities to find a husband and have a family which is the traditional role of most  Sri Lankan women.  New Day funding these classes helps the girls to further their education and hopefully give them other options as they prepare for adulthood without a husband or family to support them.  
Stephanie and Paul Early and Liza and Chris Green with Matara staff.

Stephanie and Paul Early and Liza and Chris Green with Matara staff.

For the next hour and half of our visit we enjoyed an amazing performance that included all the girls from 6 years old to nearly 18.  They danced, sang, played musical instruments, wore intricate colorful costumes, presented short spoken English pieces about who they were and even treated us to some comic songs and skits.  We applauded, were impressed, laughed, clapped and were submersed in the world of the girls from Matara.  My greatest pleasure was seeing all the girls involved, excited and extremely happy in who they were and what they were doing throughout the show.  “We have been practising and rehearsing this show for 1 year” one of the girls told me.  I was blown away and the significance of what we had just watched increased ten fold.  The shy little girls with the big smiles that we met 2 hours ago had disappeared by the time the show was finished.  We now saw 26 energized and animated girls who wanted to play games and dance and sing and laugh with our children…….this day was extremely important to the girls at the Matara home.  As we left the home that evening I hoped that every one of those girls went to bed that night thinking happy thoughts about their day and feeling as proud of themselves as we, their community and teachers were.

Stephanie Early

Dancing together and attending the girls art exhibition in Matara town.

Attending the girls art exhibition in Matara town.

Isabella and Ava Gross enjoying the afternoon with the girls in front of the main entrance to the Home.

Enjoying the afternoon with the girls in front of the main entrance to the Home.

It was a wonderful experience visiting the Matara girls home for myself, Isabella and Ava. It was beneficial to see one of the projects we contribute towards, to meet the people, and chat about their needs. Milly talked to me about how they are trying to improve their garden / outdoor space at the moment and hopefully build a bit of a playground for the girls. It was especially wonderful for my girls to see first hand those that are less fortunate than them and how they can bring them much happiness just by spending some time with them and introducing them to some activities they may not have played or done before. We all had a lot of fun with water pistols to cool off and relax in each others company and then with simple games such as skipping ropes, jacks, throwing balls, marbles and hop scotch! The Matara girls also introduced us to some of their dances and music. We also bought some of the girls paintings, which was a great way that each of the girls in the home could start to earn and save some of their own money,  as the money from any of their own works sold at an exhibition goes into their own accounts. We will definitely stay in touch with them and look forward to hearing about ways we can help in the future.

Maxine Gross

New Day is delighted to be supporting this project and will be making a second grant in June .  However there is so much more we can do – the Home is in need of repairs, new furniture, work in the outdoor yard and much more.  They also appreciate any input and ideas on how they can provide brighter futures for the girls once they leave the Home and look for a job or begin further education. We invite members to come forward if want to get more involved with his project. New Day would like to arrange a working visit to the Home in early 2016 to undertake some painting and renovations and spend time with the girls.  Please contact us if you are interested in joining.