I am always in awe of people who seem to face crippling hardship in their lives and at the same time show such a ferocious energy, spirit and love of that life, however tough it becomes. Koshalya was one of those people. Her beaming smile and quick wit was infectious. It wasn't long before Mike, the staff from the local charity, other women from Koshalya's self-help group and I were laughing and smiling too. Koshalya is the President of her Self-Help Group, she has many frien
In 2014, as celebrities came together to re-record the Band Aid hit song 'Do They Know It's Christmas', both the lyrics and general sentiment of the song once again came under heavy criticism. Westerners and Africans alike were outraged by the patronising tone and degrading lyrics. Back in 1984, the public lapped it up and the hit brought in millions of dollars in donations. At the time it seemed perfectly acceptable for us, 'the donors' to tell their, 'the beneficiaries', s
Manimegalai is a 17 year old girl with a dream. She dreams to be an English teacher. Excitedly, she tells me that by the time I visit again in a few years, her English would have much improved, and I believe her. She has that sparkle in her eyes, that want, that will. It is only when she looks across to her mother that she is brought back to reality. She lowers her head and tells me, "once I finish education, I will look for work and then I will help my family build a house.
Imagine this. You have a, lets say, ten year old daughter who is deaf. You live two hours outside of a main city and you rarely go into town because the rickshaw is too expensive. As your daughter grows up, you cope the best you can. When your daughter was six, you sent her to the local village school where she sat idol, unable to hear and unable to learn. When she got home she was frustrated and angry. She could not communicate, she could not speak and she could not tell you
It's not rocket science. If you are feeling sick, you go to a doctor who gives you a diagnosis and tries to fix it. In the UK, despite the current struggles of the NHS, we have one of the best health care systems in the world. My lovely and very much missed papa lived to the age of 93. On the day of his 90th birthday, he underwent a life-saving operation which enabled him to live for another three years. I will be eternally thankful to the team of doctors and nurses who saved
"I love to dance", Parathi tells me as she pulls her bright purple sari back over her head to shade her face from the relentless sun. Grabbing her friends hand, they dash outside to showcase their moves. They couldn't have found a more captive audience. It is seeing and joining in with the hobbies, laughter and spirit of the women I meet that I love the most. Parathi is only 62 years old, but she looks much older. I am not surprised. She has already had a lifetimes worth of t
With a fist pump and a huge smile, Dora tells me she is going to vote in next week's local village elections. She is 23 years old but only started receiving an education three years ago. This is when she met the field worker from the local charity which supports young people who are deaf. This is when her life changed. This is when her sense of self-worth was realised, her rights were understood, her education started and the ability to communicate helped open up her world. L