As you read this, I am flying out to Cambodia to work for Singing Kites, a charity that focuses on health and education, giving people ‘a hand up, not a hand out.’ Their emphasis is on building the villagers’ skills and confidence:
‘assisting them to develop and complete projects that help in alleviating poverty and suffering and open opportunities which bring life changes, vocational training, improved quality of health, sustainability and importantly, self worth and pride in themselves and their achievements.‘
I have never been to Cambodia, but I am aware of the poverty and problems the country faces and I feel lucky to have been given this opportunity to help. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of what we have and to create problems for ourselves, so also I’m looking forward to taking stock and balancing my perspective.
Although it started off frustratingly slow, 2014 turned out to be an incredible year – I signed the book deal I’ve aways dreamed about and I got the opportunity to be a resident writer for Singing Kites. All those hours of writing and rewriting finally paid off, but it’s not something I could have done alone.
So I’d like to end 2014 by saying a huge thank you to my lovely, supportive and tireless agent, Sallyanne Sweeney, and to my ever-supportive and very understanding husband.
Thank you also to the local community that makes West Cork such a great place to be, and to all my wonderful friends (both online and offline) that have listened to my bleating on, tolerated my meltdowns and sent me words of encouragement when needed – you know who you are, and you know I’m here whenever you need.
And now, it’s time for me to give something back. I want to make 2015 a year of adventure and words (just like my blog tag line) and although there are lots of charities closer to home that I would like to help with, I haven’t yet found a way to make that a reality. Maybe in the future my books or writing can somehow help – who knows? (All ideas welcome.)
But for now, what better place to start the new year than Singing Kites? My role is to help in classes across the school, assist the teachers with their language skills and lesson plans, and to give the children (and adults) an opportunity to express themselves through creative writing.
I’ll be blogging about my experiences while I’m away, so hopefully you’ll stay in touch – and maybe even help spread the word.
Happy New Year everyone – here’s to 2015! What would be your dream come true in the year to come?