A Ray of Hope - General

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Over the course of a year we will have many supplies available to us from educational items to chocolate biscuits - dance resources to baby clothing etc etc. If we do not know that we can help you then we will not be able to - please e-mail don@unesco.co.uk

United Kingdom and Lebanon

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thank you to Ulster Teachers' Union and British Airways for their magnificent support and congratulations to Tracy in Lebanon - with her friends and families they managed to assist 47 families. The true meaning of Christmas. As the Irish comedian said many times - "May your God go with you"

Lebanon - Appeal from Tracy

Dearest Friends,

This is a small note to let you know that we were able to help 47 families due to your donations and support.

We felt that God was helping is in every step :)

Allow me to wish you all a very merry Christmas.

Thanx again


Nepal and United Kingdom from Binoud

Merry Christmas and Very best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2009 to you and yours.

Binod Neupane

Belarus - from Natasha Sergey and Gregory

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Our Global Greeting

Monday, December 22, 2008

Canada and Poland from Halina

Denmark and USA from Claus wishing all a Merry Christmas

United Kingdom from Simon and Education for All

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ireland from Elizabeth Arts for Peace

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sierra Leone Rogbonko Village School from Aminatta and Simon Newsletter


Newsletter 10. December 2008

In 2008 the world saw a dramatic rise in food prices. As ever, the poorest people in the world were the worst affected. Ranking last in the United Nations Human Development Index, Sierra Leone is officially the poorest country in the world, with an average life expectancy of below 40 and where a third of children are underweight for their age. The subsistence farmers of Rogbonko must surely be the poorest of the poor. They strive to grow enough to feed their families year round, though in practise this rarely happens. Rises of up to 90% in food prices would have made this year’s ‘hungry season’ especially severe. There is a proven link with children’s school performance and nutrition, so it is with thanks to donations from our supporters we are able to tell you Rogbonko Village School Trust has helped families by running a Breakfast Club. Each of our 200 children received a meal of rice, fish and vegetables every day between July 15th and December 15th at a cost of £1,500. Now that the harvest has arrived in Rogbonko the programme will be brought to an end. Our thanks to everyone who helped make the Breakfast Club possible.

We’re delighted to say the Patron’s Scheme, whereby we asked for 50 people to commit £100 a year in order to guarantee the future of the school, is off to a good start. So far we have 47 Patrons, including those of you who were already supporting us with regular donations. Now we’re looking for just three more patrons. As the recession begins to bite, we know everyone is tightening their belts. We are asking for just £25 per quarter guaranteed for 10 years. That’s a single takeaway, three bottles of wine, one and a half hardback books....


Imagine you had never seen a television before. One Saturday evening in February, children in Rogbonko were invited to come to school out of hours. The children sat in rows, with no idea what to expect. Minutes later they were watching images of a polar bear wake from hibernation in the deep snow of the Arctic, the opening sequence of the BBC’s Planet Earth series. A stunned silence was followed minutes later by a flurry of chatter as the children gradually made sense of the images. After the show pupils ran home with news of the television, and a short time later parents began to arrive at the school to see what their children were talking about. The next day we held a viewing for grown ups – none of whom had ever seen TV before either. In addition to a wide selection of educational DVD’s, including Planet Earth and the Blue Planet, we also sent children’s films, from classics such as The Wizard of Oz to modern favourites like Stuart Little – because every child deserves a little fun. And as Rogbonko is unable to receive network television – parents have no watershed worries!


Twenty children sat and passed the National Primary School Exam this year. All scored more than 300 out of a possible 400 marks. The school was congratulated by the school inspector for achieving some of the highest grades not just in the region, but in the entire country. Graduates of Rogbonko Village School have also taken all ten top places at Magburaka Secondary School end of year exams.

When Rogbonko Village School first opened in January 2003 all of our teachers were untrained volunteers. Two of those teachers accepted an offer by the Trust to pay for them to attend teacher’s training college in nearby Makeni. Our congratulations to James Fullah who graduated as a fully qualified teacher this year. Headmaster Augustine Kamara graduated in 2007.

Our thanks to PCET Publishing of Ealing who supply visual resources for schools and also Don . Don put us in touch with PCET and as a result two shipments of donated teaching aids have been sent to Rogbonko this year. They include maps of the world and the night sky, as well as diagrams of the human body and illustrated science books. The most recent shipment was worth £3250. And so generous have PCET been, that on both occasions we have been able to share our luck with five neighbouring primary schools.

We have three payments into the Rogbonko Village School Fund bank account which we are unable to match to any of our records. If you filled in a Patron standing order form, but forgot to write and let us know, do get in touch. We’d like to say thank you!

USA From Strive

United States from Gabriele

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

South Korea - Serena shares her sketches of her friends.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Serena sketches her friends Sunha Monk and Hiang Il

Bulgaria - "The Big Read" from Snejana

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The *Big Read* is already in Bulgaria


October 5 was the official start date of the initiative of the Bulgarian National Television /BNT/. The *Big Read* will select the most favorite novel of Bulgarian readers and will last six months. The BNT presents the Big Read in partnership with DARIK radio –BG.
The Big Read is a trademark of BBC carried out in 2003 with the goal of finding the *Nation’s Best-loved Book*. The *Lord of the Rings* novel was the winner in the British edition of the campaign. BBC and BNT will collaborate again after the very successful Bulgarian edition of * The Great Bulgarians* carried out in 2006.
A new Internet site has been created specially for the purpose. People are also going to be able to vote by phone, via sms, by sending letters. There are no limitations in the number of titles one person can vote for.
As a part of the nation vote Prison School in Stara Zagora will take part in Big Read campaign. The initiative will include reading events of selected books and meetings with Bulgarian poets and writers. The Big Read campaign is another good reason to present students’ work /creative writing/ and achievements to prison community and to the local community in the town. Both teachers and students will vote by letters.
In the world outside prison, the book is almost an outsider, its place has been taken away b7 the Internet and the multitude of information media forms. But in the conditions of the prison in Stara Zagora / and in the other prison institutions in Bulgaria/, the reading of books is more than entertainment and a positive and a constructive use of time. It’s a way of self-education, and acquiring of more information. The well-chosen book is a kind of a teacher in itself.
We hope the Big Read campaign will help us to gain over the sympathy and support of local authorities and to enrich our library collection.

The final show is scheduled for March 15, 2009 when Bulgaria’s most favorite novel is going to be announced.

USA - Gabriele's Christmas Card to Everyone

South Korea - Serena's students perform.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Poland from Halina

South Korea from Serena

Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Lights in South Korean Department Stores.

Romania - from Adina - Prison Initiatives.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Adina Rachieru is a student of “Petre Andrei” University of Iaşi and volunteer in the Penitentiary of Iaşi, Romania. She writes:
I am in the unenviable position of writing about myself and my activity. A good beginning would be to introduce myself. I am a 26-year old woman, a student at the Faculty of Social Work and Sociology of the largest private university from Eastern Romania, “Petre Andrei” University of Iaşi.

Unfortunately Romania deals with big problems as regards the social reintegration of persons who were deprived from freedom. This made me think when I started to work as a volunteer in the Penitentiary of Iaşi, precisely because I thought I would not be able to interact with people in detention

I developed a project with the prisoners with the purpose of developing parental skills and I participated in a social meeting organized on the Orthodox Easter, and gave gifts to the over 50 persons deprived of freedom in the women’s section. The joy on their faces was the most beautiful gift I ever received. In those moments my belief that I had made a good choice in working with persons deprived from freedom was confirmed.

After completing the project in the women’s section, I started to carry out a series of activities with men deprived from freedom, in semi-open system (punishes between 1 and 5 years) and closed system (punishes between 5 and 15 years). That was the first time I saw concerns that I did not think I would see in a place as inhospitable as the penitentiary. With the help of teachers dedicated to their profession, the prisoners create true artistic wonders, in graphics, painting, music and drama. Seeing all these, I decided it would be wonderful if the wide public could see them. Thus for the anniversary of the university I attend, I decided to organize an exhibition with a few of the prisoners’ works. It all culminated with a workshop on the topic “Modalities of social reintegration through art”, in which students, professors, artists, probation officers participated and were impressed by the exhibited woks. Hence I initiated a series of events meant to change the attitude and mentality regarding persons deprived of freedom.

A week ago I completed successfully an exhibition organized in the community, where over 30 works created by a person in custody of the Penitentiary in Iaşi were exhibited.

I hope that these efforts I made together with the teachers in the penitentiary, can change gradually the way in which the persons recently released from a detention institution are seen by the local community and to lead to the creation of social reintegration opportunities.

South Korea from Serena Kimchi Part 2

Kimchi is the general term given to a group of fermented vegetable foods in Korea. Kimchi has been traditionally served as a "must" at almost every meal along with cooked rice and other dishes.
Kimchi varieties are determined by the main vegetable ingredients and the mix of seasonings used to flavor the kimchi. The most popular type of kimchi is the baechu (a type of Chinese cabbage) variety but there are many regional and seasonal varieties. Popular variants include ggakdugi which is a kimchi made with cubed radishes, pa-kimchi (made with scallions),chonggak-kimchi and oisobagi (hangul: 오이소박이), a cucumber kimchi with hot and spicy seasonings. Kkaennip (hangul: 깻잎) kimchi features layers of perilla leaves marinated in soy sauce and vinegar and other spices. Mugeunji which is baechu-kimchi is fermented longer and is good for kimchi-jjigae (kimchi stew).
The Kimchi Field Museum in Seoul has documented 187 historic and current varieties of kimchi. Although the most common seasonings include brine, garlic, scallions and ground chili pepper, seasonings and ingredients can be replaced or added depending on the type of kimchi being made. Common seasonings also include ginger, onions, low-sodium aekjeot (hangul: 액젓, fish sauce) and as well as fruit or fresh seafood. Aekjeot has replaced high-sodium myeolchijeot (salted fermented anchovies) and saeujeot (salted fermented small shrimps) since the early 1970s.
Kimchi varieties
Kimchi can be categorized by main ingredients, regions or seasons. Korea's northern and southern sections have a considerable temperature difference.[8] Northern regions tend to have longer winters compared to the southern regions of Korea. Kimchi from the northern parts of Korea tend to have less salt as well as less red chilli and usually do not have brined seafood for seasoning. Northern kimchi often has a watery consistency. Kimchi made in the southern parts of Korea, such as Jeolla-do and Gyeongsang-do, uses salt, chili peppers and myeolchijeot (Hangul: 멸치젓, brined anchovy allowed to ferment) or saeujeot (hangul: 새우젓, brined shrimp allowed to ferment), myeolchiaekjeot (Hangul: 멸치액젓, "kkanariakjeot" 까나리액젓, liquid anchovy jeot, similar to fish sauce used in Southeast Asia, but thicker). In the Seoul area saeujeot is preferred.
Saeujeot (hangul: 새우젓) or meyolchijeot is not added to the kimchi spice-seasoning mixture, but is simmered to reduce odors, eliminate tannic flavor and fats, and then is mixed with a thickener made of rice or wheat starch (Hangul: 풀). This technique has been falling into oblivion for the past 40 years.

Computer Warning from Julius


New storing device fits at the end of the keyboard cable connecting to the PC specialized to save all typed keys in it…
Mostly could be used in net cafes, exhibitions, hotels and airports therefore be careful especially the people who use the internet in these places to enter their bank accounts online or any other important sites.
After you enter the bank account and leave the PC it will be easy to open your account again as all what you have typed has been saved in the Black device.

Therefore, you should check the PC for any suspicious piece behind it before using the net in public places for important sites.
Please send it to all who you know to educate them against this fraud.

Bulgaria - Snejana visits Rohodopes Mountains.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Snejana visits the Rohodopes Mountains - 3mb Power Point Presentation and worth the short wait to learn more about Bulgaria. Click text or photo to view.

South Korea from Serena Kimchi-Making Festival Celebrates Essential Korean Dish

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Kimchi-Making Festival Celebrates Essential Korean Dish
It’s certainly an acquired taste for most Westerners. Some embrace the fermented vegetable dish, and some will pinch their noses as soon as a jar of it is opened.
Mid-October is the season for Korean families to make kimchi. This has been an important event every year for generations and has been an integral event in Koreans' preparation for their long, cold winters.
Lots of children and foreigners had a go making kimchi at the kimchi workshop tent. They learn about kimchi, make the kimchi themselves and get to take it home to eat.
“This festival aims to show that Kimchi is not just a food but a culture,” said the festival’s project manager, Mr. Samjo Joung.
“Kimchi is very important to older Korean people—to them it’s like air. They just love to eat kimchi. These days the younger generation’s taste has shifted to Western style food so they do not like kimchi as much as their parents. In order to promote the tradition of eating kimchi, we”ve designed a program where people can make kimchi for themselves and have fun with the vegetables.”
The history of kimchi can be traced back to ancient times. References to kimchi can be found as early as 2600–3000 years ago.[2] The first text-written evidence of its existence can be found in the first Chinese poetry book, Sigyeong (Hangul: 시경 hanja: ). In this book, kimchi was referred to as “Ji”. The term Ji was used until the pre-modern term “Chimchae” (hanja: 沈菜, lit. soaked vegetables), "Dimchae", and "Timchae" was adopted in the period of the Three Kingdoms of Korea.[3] The word then was modified into "Jimchi", and is currently called "Kimchi".
Early kimchi was made of cabbage and salted water only, and in the 12th century people began to include other spices to create different flavors, such as sweet and sour flavors, and colors such as white and orange. [4]
Chili peppers, now a major ingredient in most forms of kimchi, were unknown in Korea until the early 17th century. Chili peppers originated from the New World and were introduced by the Portuguese to the Far East, as to the rest of the world, through their trading post network.[5][6]. This particular style of kimchi made with chili peppers and baechu, a variety of Chinese cabbage, gained popularity in the 19th century and baechu kimchi continues to be the most common and popular form of kimchi today.[7]

UK to Brazil with love - Vickie

Monday, December 01, 2008

Bom Dia Escola Jardim do Eden!
Esperamos que voces sao feliz.
Aqui nos estamos mandando uns desenhos que nos fizemos para voces para natal.
Os desenhos mostram as temas que nos gostamos durante natal. Nos adornar um arvore em nossas casas, com coisas bonitas que nos fazemos, como estrelas, luz, e qualquer coisinha. Se chegar neve, nos fazemos boneco de neve! E branco, fofinho e frio. Nos fazemos bola de neve e jogar para tudo a gente! As pocas da agua tornar-se gelo, podemos andar em cima das pocas deste jeito!
O maioria das arvores perderem as folhas deles, (ate Marco, quando vao crescendo do novo). Os arvores quem nao perderem as folhas deles, sao os arvores que nos levar pra casa, (nome deles chamaram ' Pine ') durante o mes de Dezembro, e adornar o arvore 'Pine' para celebrar natal.
Nos vamos fazer un festival, com nossas familias, fazemos comida assada, un peru com batata e legumes. Gostoso!
Esperamos que voces ter uma boa natal,
Ate logo, Abracos,
Escola South Molton, Inglaterra.
Traducao para Ingles:
Good Morning Garden of Eden School!
We hope that you are happy.
Here we are sending you some designs that we made for you for christmas.
The designs show themes that we like during christmas. We decorate a tree in our house, with pretty things that we make, like stars, lights, and whatever other things. If snow arrives, we make a snowman! It is white, soft and cold.
We make snowballs and throw them at everyone! The puddles of water turn into ice, we are able to walk on top of the puddles this way!
Most of the trees loose their leaves, (until March, when they grow again). The trees that do not loose their leaves, they are the trees that we take to our house, (their name is called ' Pine' tree) during the month of December, and decorate the 'Pine' tree to celebrate christmas.
We will make a festival, with our families, we make roasted food, a turkey with potatoe and vegetables. Delicious!
We hope that you have a good Christmas,
Bye-bye, Hugs, South Molton School.

Northern Ireland - Ulster Teachers' Union - thank you

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Ulster Teachers' Union have been staunch supporters of A Ray of Hope for many years allowing us to begin and complete projects that would not have been possible without their help. We are grateful to the President, General Secretary and members for their generosity and can assure them that it has not only been appreciated but invaluable for many who for what ever reason have been disadvantaged. The UTU have also kindly promoted our projects in their newsletter and for that we are also delighted . Thank you UTU.

Uganda - Sierra Leone - from PCET -

Yet another big thank you to Pictorial Charts Educational Trust who have donated the educational resources for schools in Uganda and Sierra Leone. Also the provision of classroom science books for 18 libraries.

Nigeria - Pam's Visit

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

At the Fantsuam Foundation (FF) Knowledge Resource Centre, I worked with teachers and learners, adults and children. This was the main purpose of my working holiday. There is a strong culture locally of rote learning and never asking questions. John Dada, the director of (FF) wants me to help him to break away from that at the KRC. He wants the pupils and students to have enquiring minds, and he wants the teachers and trainers to encourage questions. The photographs are of John showing me the new site, which will be Attachab Eco-village. John is planning to gradually move all the existing work of Fantsuam Foundation over there. He will also include new projects related to livelihoods and eco-development. He hopes to demonstrate appropriate technologies there as well as esistign work. He will try things out and if they work then he will help other people to learn about them. He has only recently got the land. I told one of my contacts, Marcus Simmons, about the Eco-village, and he travelled out the same time as me to learn more about the local realities and to make a trial demonstration building. The final photo is a group back at the present main site - key Fantsuam Foundation people plus Marcus and me. From L to R: me, TY Shinggu, Marcus Simmons, Kazanka Comfort, Kelechi Micheals, Ochuko Onoberhie, and John Dada.

Bulgaria - from Snejana - folk beliefs - days of the week.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

*……..The folk holidays are like birds – they fly in, fly away, but are always with the Bulgarians for they are the spirit of the ancestors. *

About the days of the week, according to the folk beliefs of the Bulgarians

Monday - A male day, working day. The ones born on this day will earn their living arduously and labour will be their fateful sing. It is recommended not to wear white clothes on Monday.

Tuesday – A female day, a difficult day. You must not begin anything on Tuesday. It is recommended not to wear red clothes on Tuesday.

Wednesday – A male day, good for any kind of enterprise. Those born on this day are balanced, wise and slow. It is lucky to wear blue or violet clothes on Wednesday.

Thursday – Again a male day. Those born on this day are lucky in love and good in arts. It is recommended to wear green clothes.

Friday – A female day, but good for business. Those born on Friday are good at business and are successful.

Saturday - Again a female day. The ones born on Saturday are considered to be *Satan’s children*, they are devilishly dextrous and talented, enterprising and can handle everything. They have prophetic gifts. It is recommended to wear gray and black clothes for luck.

Sunday – A sunny day. The ones born on this day are destined for happiness and wealth. Fate helps them generously, especially if they wear orange and golden clothes.

Lebanon - Tray and Friends "Initiative"

Hungry for Help
Since hunger knows no friend but its feeder, we would like to ask for your help feeding the less fortunate on Christmas just like every year.I’m so grateful for all your efforts my dear friends and I want you to know that because of you we are able to feed more families year after year.Those who wish to participate are kindly asked to submit their donations to me before 15 December 2008.Any contribution, no matter how small it is, is highly appreciated.P.S: If you know families who can benefit from this initiative kindly provide me with their contact details to include them in our distribution channel. Whoever wishes to participate in the packaging and the distribution process is more than welcome.Thank you and may God bless youFor Food Donation , please call 03- 742930 / 03-146087

Nigeria - Pam brings ICT expertise to her friends.

Greece- Denmark from Per

Monday, November 24, 2008

PAN - Europe
The prison school 2ο Γυμνάσιο & Λ.Τ. Αυλώνα in Hellas has many cultural activities. As a school for juvenile prisoners the school is responsible for the cultural life inside. It is very often the case that the activities in prisons is driven forward by the schools. The juvenile prison school in Avlona, Athens, has a long tradition with cultural activities like drama, music and handicraft.
Prison schools are essential for a democratic and cultural development of prisons and especially needed in juvenile institutions.
Here are recent examples: Link

China - Nigeria - Temmy

Dear Don,

Please find attached pictures taken at the World urban Forum In China.

The first picture was taken at the launch of the Youth-Led Opportunity fund.
The second was when we were walking to the opening of the forum with the prime minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga.
The third was with David the president of Peace Child International.


Austria - Bettina's Vacation to Austria: Castle Grafenegg

South Korea - Wedding 3- from Serena

Eum/Yang (Yin and Yang) Marriage represented the perfect union and balancing of the two primary elements of the world: Eum, the dark, female element; and Yang, the bright, male element ("yin" and "yang"). Often, the marriage ceremony took place at dusk, representing a balance between light (day) and darkness (night) The color blue stands for Eum, while red represents Yang.

Chickens A male and female chicken (one wrapped in a blue cloth, the other in a red one) sit on or under the wedding table. One meaning is the symbolism associated between roosters and the morning. The crowing of the rooster marked the beginning of the day, a bright, fresh start, just like the marriage should be. The crowing of the rooster also told the evil spirits that day was coming and they had to disappear.
The rooster in the wedding ceremony marks a hope that evil spirits will go away and not trouble the new couple. A secondary meaning represents the hopes that the couple will have many children, very important in a traditional agrarian society. As productive chickens made many eggs, thus should the new bride produce many children.

Hapgeunrye (Drinking)
This part of the ceremony had two main variations, due to regional differences. The first variation had the couple drinking from the same cup, with their assistants passing it back and forth between bride and groom. The second variation had them drinking from separate halves of a gourd. The drinking signified the destiny of the new husband and wife, as well as their harmony together. Using two halves of the same courd further symbolized that the bride and groom each made up one half and only together could they be considered whole.
First, one of the helpers poured alcohol into a small cup for the groom, who then drank it. Another helper poured for the bride who sipped it or only pretended to drink. The groom's helper then poured into the cup again (or used the gourd in the other variation) and the groom drank again. The bride's helper poured again, with the bride sipping or pretending to drink again. Finally, the grrom and bride joined together and bowed three times: once to their parents, once to their ancestors, and once to the guests.

Modern Weddings
Although Koreans have kept several aspects of the traditional ceremony, most modern ceremonies resemble Western marriage ceremonies more than traditional Korean ones. However, many folk villages and museums across the country regularly perform ceremonies to keep the traditions alive.