In my recent visit to Meteora, Greece, I was awed at how the monasteries were built on these magnificent rocks in the 14th century. The collection of these UNESCO World Heritage monasteries perched on rock pillars 400 metres above ground revealed the determination of the monks then. In pursuing what they believed in, hardship was not a consideration. It took the monks more than 20 years to painstakingly haul building materials up the mountain to build the Great Meteoron Monastery. I resonated with this. Much of what we do at Awful Grace may only lead to a greater outcome many years down the road. We may experience fulfilment along the way but a movement can only grow as it gains momentum.
Much has happened since the last update from Awful Grace. We concluded our inaugural programme in Malta, expanded the Chitwan goat farm in Nepal and completed Toki Formation in our newest destination - Batam, Indonesia. As I reflected on what we have embarked on since 2016, I realised that what we do is not constrained by geography. Rather, as a movement we seek to embrace common humanity and hence we choose to work with communities that share a common thread. That common thread weaves itself in what we know as "victimisation". Beyond working with victims to overcome their circumstances, we journey with them beyond that so that they can become mentors and influencers in their own communities.
We completed the first half of 2019 with much to look forward to for the rest of this year. Toki Formation kicks off in other organisations in Singapore and overseas. Projek Namaste will evolve into a programme that promotes livelihood and environmental sustainability in Nepal.
Toki Formation is a programme run by Awful Grace that seeks to develop character and life skills through pottery. Participants (or apprentices) work individually as well as in a group framework in each of the sessions.
We completed Toki Formation in collaboration with Citramas Foundation (Indonesia) in June. This partnership will see us working with the Foundation community outreach in Batam. In addition to the work in Batam, Awful Grace will continue running Toki Formation in Singapore Prison. For more information on the programme please email us.
A showcase of pottery pieces from students at Assumption Pathway School who attended Toki Formation. Several pieces were displayed during a public exhibition at The Arts House in 2018. Toki Formation at Assumption Pathway School continues from July 2019.
Our engagement with our apprentices who have completed Toki Formation in prison continues. We enjoyed a pottery session with them and their families earlier this year.
During our visit in November this year, we will distribute school bags and essentials such as soap, shampoo, school materials and school uniform to the children. We will continue to run activities for the children's homes in Kathmandu and Pokhara. If you would like to sponsor a child in these homes, please contact us.
We are pleased to know that at least half of the families from 2017 have already multiplied their goat stock and returned goats back to the Chitwan farm, so that new families can benefit from this community project. This ensures that more families are able to participate in this pay-it-forward community development programme.
We will also meet another 20 families who will receive their goats and cows.
With support from donors, we hope to continue to expand this programme to other families from various districts. We welcome donors to join hands with us in enabling these communities to rebuild their livelihood after the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal. If you would like to support this project, please drop us an email.
Dhulikhel Prison in Kavre District is one of more than 70 prisons in Nepal. To support prisoners in learning tailoring, Awful Grace donated sewing machines during our visit in 2018. The machines will enable prisoners to earn a living through tailoring.
The refurbished goat farm and training facility in Chitwan has been completed. The additional multipurpose rooms will enable more families to continue to be trained in farming, so that their community can be lifted out of poverty.
A Day of Giving Awful Grace in the local community
In March this year, the Bukit Timah Citizen Consultative Committee (CCC) organised its inaugural Bukit Timah Day of Giving with over 12 welfare and social organisations. It was a day when the community came together and participated in the activities for a social purpose. We managed to create awareness through the cakes from our bake sale, courtesy of Jade, from Haute Pans.
We invite you to stay on this journey with us as we embark on initiatives that touch communities of victims. There is much to look forward to for the rest of 2019.