WELSH journalist Jem King, a member of the 2010 and 2012 Cycle India teams, has written an
account of the highs and lows of his most recent visit to India with HEAL.
In an article published in the Wales on Sunday, Jem recalls his delight at meeting up again
with Anusha, the girl he sponsors at the HEAL Children’s Village in Guntur, but also the
plight of poverty-striken families he came across at a nearby township.
“I would dearly love to have spent much more time with Anusha and found out more about her
plans for further education, but we felt it was important to highlight the conditions some
of our ‘poverty trap’ children live in.
“A group of us – myself, Vijith Puthi, Pete Tantram and Matthew Glover – were dismayed by
the lack of basic facilities available to these people who were living well below the
poverty line, but still remained outwardly cheerful and friendly.
“Almost all the children were well dressed, one or two wearing their HEAL school uniforms,
but we discovered that hundreds of them were not even able to attend school at all.
“The timing of our visit coincided with an event which further highlighted the difficulties
faced by these people. Only 24 hours before our arrival, a stray flame had set one of the
homes built from dried palm leaves and bamboo alight.
“The family which lived there, including an elderly lady and small children, was forced to
sleep out in the open after their house and very few possessions, mostly brightly-coloured
clothes, had been destroyed.
“We did our best to help before returning to the Children’s Village and I don’t mind
admitting that a few tears were shed before we felt able to rejoin our Cycle India team-
Jem made a short film of the township visit which can be found at www.walesonline/news/need-to-
read, where you can also read his article.
If you would like to find out more about how you can sponsor a poverty trap child from as
little as £9.50 a month, go to our home page and simply click on the Sponsor a Child button.
And please sign up to our newsletter to receive regular updates and news of all HEAL’s
projects in India.
Photgraphs by Peter Tantram