Left to right – The Bedford Fundraising Committee (Seema Bhogaita, Reza Beyad HOPE Ambassador, Poonam Chand, and Karen Crofts Hotston)
Stopping at the side of the road to view a fabulous Indian wedding, during one of many work trips to India, was the start of my journey towards The Hope Foundation For Street Children (HOPE) Charity. Children immediately came to beg but allowed me to take their photo on my digital camera – and there the fun began – they had never ‘seen’ themselves and for 2 hours they belly laughed pleading for me to take more photos, enjoying the childhood fun that had been cruelly cut short by poverty. Searching for the right Charity is never easy but after a chance introduction to somebody heavily involved with HOPE and finding that the vision for the Charity was ‘it should never hurt to be a child’ – I think the Charity found me.
HOPE is a family of dedicated individuals and I know that every penny goes the children who need it. What really appealed to me was that funds are used to help young children ultimately become self sufficient via education enabling them to find work and break the chain of poverty.
In Bedford we formed a local HOPE committee that promotes child sponsorship and hosts fund raising events. Being part of a group gives us the opportunity to bounce ideas and utilise each other’s individual strengths to the full. HOPE ‘mothership’ is a fantastic support to us and we try, wherever, to leverage off their experiences; Juliette (Fundraising and Events Manager) arranges zoom meetings every 2-3 months during which time we talk about possible future events and how she can be of help. We are also heavily supported by Maura Lennon (International Fundraising Director) and Maureen Forrest (Founder and Honorary Director) is always on hand and has, on many occasions, come to Bedford to talk about the Charity and its work and champion our events. The committee has been very successful since its inception in 2018 having raised, to date, £51,000 and child sponsorship has now reached 42 (figs at Jan 2022). We network heavily with local businesses and have been able to tap into amazing fundraisers who include HOPE as one of their sponsored charities. The model works and we would be happy to talk to anybody who would like to start a local group or if anybody would be interested in bringing their energy and talent to our group.