Posts Tagged ‘Charity’

Guest Blogger: John

India’s poverty is staggering. There are more people living below the poverty level in India (which is calculated at below $1.25 a day) than there are people below the poverty level in all of Africa. There doesn’t seem to be a state structure to take care of the problem. Women and children are particularly vulnerable so it was heartwarming to visit a private charities such as Women’s Interlink Foundation.

India Welcome

Women’s Interlink Foundation was established in 1990 in Kolkata (Calcutta). Their vision is to create a world where disadvantaged women and children have access to basic care and are empowered to improve their quality of life.  They have integrated programs such as literacy, health care, nutrition, skill development, income generation, shelter & drinking water, sanitation, prevention of violence/trafficking, domestic violence, etc.

India Dancing

India Dancing

The dancing is taught to improve self-esteem in the women. They performed a traditional Indian dance for our group.

Inida Wood Block Stamping

India Wood block stamping

The women are taught various skills in order to become self-sufficient. We were shown wood block stamping area.


They also make small wallets/purses.


A sample of a “final product” ~ a beautiful tablecloth.

In the city where Mother Teresa did her good works, it’s encouraging to see organizations such as Women’s Interlink Foundation continue women and children in need.

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If music be the food of love, play on.” William Shakespeare

I wasn’t exposed to musical instruments as a child. OK, maybe I strummed a Ukulele once or twice as a little kid but none of the schools I attended in Hawaii or Puerto Rico offered music classes.  But not having learned to play an instrument makes me no less inspired and in awe of those who can.

Having moved 20 times, or on the average of every 2.5 years, I’ve learned to hit the ground running. Logan’s London school doesn’t have an orchestra and I didn’t want her viola skills to get rusty. Within the first week in London, I started my search for a viola tutor. I didn’t know any one in the area yet, so I used (gasp) Google. The Tutor Pages website popped up with lists of tutors and their information. I was impressed with Maja Wegrzynowska’s information and made an appointment to meet with her the next week.

Since safety is my first priority, I did a basic background search (again Google) and made sure John was aware of where we were going. Can’t be too careful these days ( for all I knew it could have been a bogus listing) but any worries I had were set aside when I met Maja. She’s been a fabulous tutor for Logan. Because she is a performing artist, the practice schedule is fluid ~ we make arrangements each week. Works out well for her and for Logan. We’re thrilled she makes time to tutor when she has such a busy schedule performing.

For the last few months, I’ve wanted to take Logan to see Maja in concert. I’m a firm believer that you can learn a lot by watching the experts live. Until now, we’ve had conflicting schedules but finally, this past Wednesday, we were able to attend Maja’s performance at the 35th Anniversary Concert of Live Music Now. It took place in Hall One at Kings Place (near Kings Cross Station) and featured performances by current musicians and distinguished alumni. Maja has worked with them in the past.

Live Music Now is a UK-based charity. Over the last three decades, it has conducted 50,000 participatory performances thus reaching over two million people with disabilities, the elderly and children with special needs. The charity hires young professional musicians out of music school, pays them a salary (one they can live on) and teaches them to use their talents for the benefit of those who are otherwise excluded from access to experiencing live music. In the states, I’ve heard of volunteers who do similar events but this charity takes it to another level with PAID professionals. We saw a short film showing the musicians in a classroom setting and one in an elderly home. It was heartwarming to see the smiles brought about by the fabulous music brought to their lives ~ even for a short while.

The concert was FABULOUS. It began and ended with the toe tapping harmonica/banjo duo of “Walsh and Pound” and all kinds of wonderful music in between. There was jazz, Spanish guitar, an opera singer, etc. Maja played in a trio called “La Mer Trio” ~ it consists of the viola, harp and flute. An interesting combination and they sounded so beautiful together.

La Mer Trio (Maja Wegrzynowska (Viola), Renate Sokolovska (Flute) and Hannah Stone (Harp)  Photographer: Grzegorz Golebiowski.

La Mer Trio: Maja Wegrzynowska (Viola), Renate Sokolovska (Flute) and Hannah Stone (Harp) (Photographer: Grzegorz Golebiowski)

Hall One at Kings Place (Photo Courtesy of Kings Place)

Hall One at Kings Place (Photo Courtesy of Kings Place)

Hall One at Kings Place was a pleasant surprise. I was a little worried since our seats were towards the back but there’s not a bad seat in the hall and the acoustics are wonderful. It’s attending events such as this remind me that I’m going to miss the heck out of London. If you get a chance to go to the 36th Anniversary concert next year, do so. It only cost £14.50 which was so worth it!

If you want to see La Mer Trio in concert, click here.

For more info on:

Kings Place upcoming events, click here.

Live Music Now charity, click here.

The Tutor Pages, click here. 

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