A SHAW church is asking people to saddle up and help them raise £5,000 to give families on the subcontinent a better life.
Bill and Janet Heap have organised a virtual bike ride from Dovetales Christian Centre to India. The distance set is 5,000 miles and they are looking for volunteers to help them complete the journey, raising money for their charity at the same time.
Janet explained: “We are planning a trip to India (in 2020) to celebrate our 30th anniversary since our first visit in 1990.
“As part of our fundraising activities we are hoping to raise £5,000 by doing a 5,000-mile virtual bike ride Oldham to India.
“As two nearly 70-year-olds it is not something we do alone.
“We are asking if folks will come in and do a mile or two for us and hopefully help with their fitness too, a great combination.
“If anyone could sponsor a few miles or could get sponsorship themselves that would be wonderful too.”
The charity supports a lot of widows/widowers living in the tribal and rural areas of Andhra Pradesh in south East India.
“These folks work 10-12 hour days in the fields, earning a little under a £1 a day,” revealed Janet.
“This only covers their daily needs leaving little or nothing left for anything else.
“Unfortunately, while the single parents are working the children are often left hours on their own to fend for themselves.
“They can, and some do, get into mischief hurting themselves and on occasions fatality have been reported.
“Our aim is to try and help these needy single parents work from home so the children are better cared for.”
As part of their help campaign they buy and donate a buffalo – usually in calf – so they have two animals.
“These will provide milk for their families and manure for their village garden, helping enrich the yield they get,” added Janet.
“The milk is used to enrich their families’ diet and the surplus sold to provide for their needs. The cost is £350.
“We purchase a pair of goats, again they provide milk and manure for the garden.
“We do ask the recipients of goats to give away to another poor family the first kid from each goat, making this gift perpetual. The cost for a pair of goats is £85.
“For some, buffalo or goats are not suitable they may not be able to house or care for the animals.
“So, we offer them a treadle sewing machine, along with an ancillary pack of scissors, spools and cottons, this gives them the ability to earn while caring for their families.
“The cost of a sewing machine and ancillary pack is £125.
“Sometimes they need a small loan to help them set up a business of their choice, a village shop, tea room etc.
“We loan them say £100 and they pay that back at an amount they can afford each month, probably over a period of one to two years. “
If anyone would like further information Bill and Janet can be contacted on 07758 192540.
Or you can pop in to see them at Dovetales Christian Centre, 5-7, Beal Lane, Shaw OL2 8UY all day on Wednesday and Thursdays.