Cold Hands, Warm Heart…

At this time of year we will be getting the winter wardrobe out, getting the car checked and ready for the cold weather, dusting off the snow boots and ensuring we have what we need when the cold weather really hits us in the UK. We will be in the office, at school, at the shops or at home but we will know that adequate provisions will be made to keep us comfortable. We also have nutritious food that helps with the cold and clothing especially prepared for the winter – how fortunate are we?

However, if anything happens that brings imbalance to the situation such as a power failure or a boiler breakdown the anxiety levels increase as the cold bites. The situation is usually resolved in a relatively short period of time but the break from the norm is difficult to cope with.

Now imagine this winter you are exchanging your residence with a family from the beautiful area of Kashmir in north Pakistan. The terrain is rugged and mountainous, the roads become impassable due to snow and ice, the average temperature in near freezing for the whole of winter but the views are fantastic and you see nature in striking form,

· Imagine arriving in your exchange home and there is no central heating or hot running water. The doors and windows have cracks that let in the wind, chilling you to the bone – This is reality for hundreds of thousands of people in this region;

· Imagine your child does not have a winter coat, hat, scarf, gloves or boots but has to go everywhere with sparse clothing and hand me downs – This is the reality for tens of thousands of unfortunate children from poor backgrounds living here;

· Imagine no car and no public transport anywhere near you which means your child has to walk for a couple of hours each way to get to school and back in extreme temperatures across rugged mountainous terrain and in the dark – This is the reality for Hamza and his brother and many other children that go to READ Foundation schools. See Hamza’s journey via this link,

· Imagine the school that your child attends has a leaking roof, old dilapidated furniture and very basic facilities. Imagine the school having to close and your child’s education is impacted leaving them trailing against their peer group – This is the reality for some READ Foundation schools especially the ones in the utmost rural parts.

· Imagine running out of basic provisions but not being able to replenish as you can’t either afford to do this or the extreme circumstances that you are facing do not allow you to venture out – This is the reality in Kashmir for many families.

These are some of the ongoing and regular hardships that children and their families face in this region. If you are an orphan here then your life is difficult at the best of times but during the winter it becomes exponentially worse. How would you cope with the hardship?

In the UK there is so much help available for people facing hardship through welfare and local authorities as well as the neighbours and friends of the afflicted person. In Kashmir nothing of this sort exists and reliance is on charities such as READ Foundation to alleviate hardship for as many people as they can help.

Last winter, with the help of its generous supporters, for £30, READ Foundation provided 450 orphan children with warm winter clothing comprising of a coat, hat, scarf, gloves, jumper and winter shoes. Can you imagine your child or a loved one not having these basic essentials – Sadly this is the reality for many children in Kashmir.

This winter READ will be running the winter campaign again, to help even more orphan children. You can support them by helping a child receive basic winter clothing; more importantly your help will assist READ Foundation to provide an education to the orphans and needy children of this region that will ultimately lead to a better future for them.

Help the cold hands with your warm hearts, by visiting the below link and donating generously; it could lead to a marginally better winter for unfortunate needy child or even save their life.

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