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India: You can all be part of this great work

I have been fortunate enough to take part in the first two Reckitt Benckiser (RB) Global Challenges to India and recently visited Save the Children projects in Kolkata.

The “challenge” aspect was a great personal motivator and raising the money for such a great cause very rewarding.

But nothing can compare to actually visiting the projects and seeing what a difference the work of Save the Children makes to the lives of children who have been rescued from child domestic labour and repatriated with their families.

Rescuing the children is only the first step of the process. The work of Save the Children extends far beyond simply getting children back to their families.

It involves looking for long term sustainable solutions for education and vocational training in order to break the cycle of poverty.

It involves education of communities and child traffickers and the establishment of local partners to continue the work that Save the Children has started which then enables them to move on to other areas and villages to extend the programmes.

My recent visit to Kolkata with a group of RB people from around the world was inspiring. Real progress is being made which is evident from the completion and opening of four training centres which have the support of local communities.

It was heart-warming to hear the stories of girls who had been rescued from domestic work where the suffering of mental, physical and sexual abuse was a regular occurrence, and where there was no potential for education or to break the cycle of poverty and their suffering.

We also visited a drop in centre in Kolkata city, a facility where girls who are still engaged in domestic work and those in the local community can visit to receive education and vocational training.

The centre is in a slum area where life is tough and survival is a day to day challenge. God only knows what the outcome is for girls who do not have this facility in their local area.

I recently celebrated a birthday and the best present I received was from my own children. On their own initiative they had visited the Save the Children website and purchased a gift aid item for text books to be sent to India.

A small thing perhaps, but of incalculable benefit to children who wonder where their next meal is coming from not when they will get the latest gadget or fashion accessory.

My message to you all is that tangible progress is being made. Be inspired in what you are doing because your fundraising will be put into programmes which are designed to produce sustainable benefits.

You can be part of this great work. Good luck.

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