Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I'm a TV star

Yesterday i joined the Red Cross in Armenia while being filmed by a TV crew. It was almost reality TV. I just wasn't very glamorous (i might have looked out of place if i had been dressed only in a bikini or tried to sing my rendition of My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion) but that didn't stop them taking some disturbingly close up pictures!

I went to the opening of a Red Cross programme our company is funding to help elderly with no family or support. There are several hundred of old people in Kapan with no family and no income. The superannuation amount you get depends on your job when you retired, apparently it is between $20 - $60 USD per month. This is not enough money to pay for utilities let alone food, medicine or clothing. After being part of the opening I joined the Red Cross and gave a donation as I felt really moved by the sad situation these elderly are in.

This lady is in charge of the programme, she was telling me how people are really, truly desperate. How some of the old people come in and are so happy to be given a pack of tea that costs less than $1. The agency gives out food parcels to the elderly, the food below is a normal week supply.

Each week they receive a small amount of sugar, rice, pasta, cooking oil, tea, soap and detergent. This is to feed the person for a week. No vegetables, no protein.

The day we were there one of the old people was having a birthday, so as something a little special the old woman was being given a packet of biscuits and a nightgown (see the bottom of the picture). It just cuts me up to see this.

The agency also provides medical services and some very basic medication if the old people need it. I left feeling very humbled and rather sad that these people have managed to work their whole life, and now they have nothing to show for it. It horrified me when i was told these people aren't the truly unfortunate as there is apparently a house in Kapan for the homeless, destitute elderly which houses about 28 people.

I sometimes get the feeling that many of the NGO's out there are really not helping, they are profiting from the huge amount of sponsorship and donor money in the world.... but this is one case that i see real need being met by sponsorship and the truly needy benefiting.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

Life is so cruel to some.
I guess if we all do a little something then someone somewhere benefits a little...