Iglu Students Sydney and Brisbane

On Ya Bike

Iglu Kelvin Grove is getting behind one of its students who is heading off on a charitable ride to help kids...

This November, 20 ambassadors for Forget Me Not Australia, will be cycling over two weeks more than 240km from the top of India's Fort Kochi Trivandrum through to picturesque Kerala in Southern India. Each will be fundraising to support project HELP and Brighter Futures Study Centres raising children to be thriving, vibrant and connected to family, community and opportunity. 

Iglu Kelvin Grove is sponsoring their resident Teah Mackay, with a $2000 donation for this much needed cause. 

Hi Teah, tell us a little about yourself.

I am 18 and originally from Melbourne, however I was raised in Hervey Bay Qld and attended boarding school for my senior school years at Ipswich Girls Grammar. I am currently studying my undergraduate in a bachelor of Bio-medicine at the Queensland University of Technology. I chose this university after I participated in the National Youth Science Forum in 2015 and realised my fascination in the medical field and the amazing progress the field has made in disease treatment, which I was most drawn to.

How did you first hear about the charity ‘Forget Me Not’? Why is this charity is special to you?

Forget Me Not originally started in Hervey Bay, and since living there my family has been involved in the wonderful work Forget Me Not does for many years. 

For my 'schoolies' after graduating year 12, at 17 I traveled with Forget Me Not throughout Nepal to meet the remarkable children Forget Me Not had rescued from Illegal Orphanages. With the mentoring or Forget Me Not, I instantly became aware of the millions of children globally who are born into unjust sexist, abuses and poverty stricken environments. I knew Forget Me Not was the change these countries needed. 

What is the best part about being involved with “Forget Me Not?” 

It is amazing to me to see how quickly young kids, who been through hell and back in illegal orphanages, once being rescued into Forget Me Not's care, the change is quick with the love and support they are surrounded with. These children, with Forget Me Not Australia by their side, grow into young educated adults who are now branching out of Forget Me Not's care and changing Nepal for themselves as empowered women. 

This is the reason I am so proud to support Forget Me Not and our girls.

What was the process to get to visit Kathmandu? And what did you do when you were there?

After all the years of seeing the faces of the beautiful little children, my family and I were supporting, I knew it was time meet them. When we ventured into Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital city and visited the Forget Me Not Children’s Home where we had street dance concerts, big feast, games. It still to this day, was the most loved and thankful experience of my life. Being surrounded by dozens are smiling affectionate children who all called me ‘Didi’ meaning big sister. 

We also spent time in visiting one of our girls in rural Nepal who had been reunited with her family. She lived in a village which was a 10 hour car ride through the mountains away. It was a privilege to be in her village and see how Forget Me Not has helped.

The trip also highlighted the importance of reunification and how reuniting the children back with their families is more loving and supportive way to raise and child, where they are still supported by Forget Me Not, but able to maintain their family, culture, tradition and identity.

Do you have a story or moment about of an affected child or family that you remember?

When I was visiting Forget Me Not's Children home in Kathmandu, I met a 3 siblings, who only 3 weeks prior to my arrival had all been rescue from an illegal orphanage. The three children, aged 10, 8 and 6 had been rescued from sexual, physical and physiological abuse, the children also where subdued through drug abuse. The siblings when taken in by Forget Me Not where scared, malnourished, full of fleas and head lice and suffering extreme physiological distress. After I was told their story by the loving Forget Me Not Carers, it was hard to associate the story with the smiling bubbly kids I was laughing with. 

Seeing how quickly the kids changed within the protection and love of the Forget Me Not family deeply impacted me, to see the children, despite living in conditions one can only describe as hell, still having faith in the family they had found themselves apart of, despite being so deeply abused by adults nearly their entire lives, at such a young age is the most courage’s thing I have ever seen. Although the abuse the kids were exposed was still evident within them, Forget Me Not's council and family environment was the place these kids could feel safe again, seeing those kids smile and laugh has never left me nearly one year on. 

How much are you looking to raise? 

There is no limit to the work Forget Me Not does, so I do not have a fundraising limit. I am so thankful for my childhood and that fact that these kids are stripped of these and abused so terrible motivates me every day to destroyed the child trafficking industry, however with the amazing help of my friends, family and Iglu I have raised nearly $3500.

What does a $100 donation help the charity with compared with what the charity can do with $2000 that Iglu is donating?

A $100 donation can fund a Forget Me Not field officer to trek, often by foot due the conditions of the mountains and travel into rural Nepal to find the parents or families members of the children Forget Me Not has rescued from the illegal orphanages. These children are often stolen or tricked into being sent to orphanages, and as little as $100 can locate these lost families, and reunite a child. 

A $2000 donation in India can provide wages for 3 teachers for 6 months our teachers and volunteer assistants educate 600 children in our school readiness programs

To support our Iglu Kelvin Grove resident and donate to Forget Me Not, please go to http://forgetmenot.org.au/onyabike/ and scroll down to Teah.

*General Manager of Iglu Kelvin Grove, Lachlan Waters w/ Teah Mackay

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