£500 Charities...

Last week we had our very first '£500 charities' vote! 

This is when our member's monthly membership reaches £500.. we then ask all our IDo members to nominate a charity that they would like to see the money go to. We then hold a vote for the winner!

And our first chosen charity is Kidscape nominated by the lovely Larissa Joice Photography

The money is then donated on behalf of the IDo community and as an extra surprise Larissa also gets a sneaky prize too! An Instax mini!..

Here's a bit of info of what Kidscape is all about!..

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"Kidscape deliver one-day ZAP assertiveness workshops for 9-16 year olds who experience bullying. The workshops are delivered every fortnight at independent venues in Birmingham, Leicester, London, Newcastle and South Shields. Details of upcoming workshop dates can be found on their website.

 ZAP is a fun, interactive day which teaches young people how to be assertive so they can deal with bullying situations effectively. It also aims to raise their confidence and self-esteem, which is achieved through the use of positive reinforcement throughout the day, and interaction with the other young people they meet, enabling them to realise that they are not alone in their experience and that they are not to blame. Parents and carers also attend a separate afternoon session on the same day where they are given expert knowledge of how to effectively support their child. They can take advantage of these free workshops by requesting an application form

You can read more about the positive outcomes of the ZAP workshop, and the fantastic feedback we receive from the families who attend on Kidscape's website."

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We are SO happy to be supporting this wonderful organisation and asked Larissa to share a little bit about why she chose Kidscape..

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"I found out about the IDo community at SNAP photography festival when Emma and Pete launched their idea to the world and when I got home I singed up immediately. I think it's a wonderful way to help out non-profit charities in the local community who are just starting out and need a little help.. and also a way to raise money for charities and causes close to our hearts. Money is pretty tight in our household but donating time and a really small amount of money monthly is something we can do. When you put lots of small things together you can create something really huge. 

When they put the call out for nominations for a charity to be put into the hat and a chance for them to win £500 I was in Leicester attending an anti-bullying workshop with my daughter. She's had a really tough year at school and a combination of bullying and the stresses of SAT's and moving up to Secondary school in September had really taken a toll on her. She had turned from a bright confident girl to one who begged me not to send her to school in the morning because of the bullying she was on the receiving end of.  She couldn't cope with anything new or with anything in anyway challenging which was so unlike her. I found Kidscape on Google and booked a place for her right away (even though it meant an overnight stay being a long drive from home) and also called their anti-bullying helpline. The lady on the helpline had lots of useful information about how I needed to approach my daughters school in order to make sure the bullying was taken seriously. This really helped in getting the school on board and also for me to be reassured the school were actively working to help resolve the situation.

The workshop was amazing. My daughter spent the whole day working with other children and the co-ordinator to learn tools to help her against bullies and in the afternoon another Kidscape member sat down with us parents. He listened to our stories and gave really good honest feedback on both how to help our children and how to work with their schools to resolve the situation. They very obviously knew exactly what they were talking about, had a huge amount of experience and were incredibly professional. 

My daughter had only 3 weeks left of junior school when we got back and I am so so pleased to say she came back with her head held high and with the confidence and ability to stand up for herself and the things she enjoyed doing that would usually invite comment from her bullies. On a number of occasions she had the opportunity to put into practise what she learnt and although it was still hard for her she felt so proud of herself for bring able to take her life back into her own hands. She sang a solo at the school leavers assembly and left school full of positivity and a real sense of belonging with her class mates. I really hope that in the future she can take the skills she learnt and apply them should she need. 

Bullying is such a huge problem in schools and some of the stories I heard at the workshop were heartbreaking. Anything that can help stop it before it happens and can help our children when it does is so worth supporting. So thank you IDo community for voting for Kidscape. It's such an awesome thing." xx

And this is exactly what we wanted £500 Charities to be about.  Shouting about organisations that are doing amazing work and being able to make a bigger impact by coming together! Thank you to all our IDo members for nominating and voting.. we can't wait for the next one!!

You can become an IDo member for as little as £3 a month so if you fancy joining our community then head to our MEMBERS page now!

Seeds and Stitches Embracing The Seasons Mini Calendar

We are So excited to introduce our first IDo PRINT SHOP collaboration!

We have followed the lovely Hannah from Seeds and Stitches for such a long time now so we were absolutely thrilled that she approached us with this STUNNING calendar!

Dreamed up by illustrator Emilie Maguin and blogger Hannah Bullivant, it is designed it to help you be a little bit more mindful, organised and hopefully inspired this coming year.

Each month is beautifully illustrated, with a series of actions at the start of each month to inspire you to take notice of the season, to be a little more mindful, and  a little more connected to what's happening outside. 

Measuring 15 cm by 21cm, it is designed to be spacious and useful inside, yet compact on your wall. It's really quite sweetly sized! 

It's £12.50 including postage. 

Hannah and Emilie are delighted to be partnering with IDo and are donating 20% of the proceeds of the calendar..

In order to reduce paper waste, they are only putting into production the exact number of calendars ordered. Orders will be taken up to the 5th December, at which point the calendar shop will close, and all orders will be shipped on the 14th December, in time for Christmas!

To order yours you can head to the SEEDS AND STITCHES blog!

Deaf Refugees // Calais trip

Written by Emma Case

The photo above was taken in a cafe inside the camp where we had lunch.

I've called this photograph.. 'A seat at the table' and to me it represents everything about this crisis.

This is what every single Refugee wants. A seat at the table. An opportunity. To be equal. To be considered. To be involved. I now have this photograph printed next to my computer as a constant reminder to continue to play my part in making space at that table..

A few months ago I came across a documentary "The gift of hearing' about the Deaf lady Joanne Milne.. (she was the lady who's video went viral after she had her cochlear implants switched on).  Joanne had organised a trip to India with the aim to fit 500 children with hearing aids and I sat watching it with my 6 month little boy Frank.. and by the end of the programme I turned to Frank and together we made a pinky promise.  We promised to do as much as we could to help other disadvantaged children to get the support they need and to give them access to hearing aids.

I had been familiar with this type of project before as in 2014 I took a very short trip over to Zambia with the charity Sound Seekersto take photos of their work - providing primary ear care, hearing tests and fitting hearing aids for both Deaf children and adults.  It was an incredible experience and something that I'm deeply passionate about.. so to see Joanne on a similar trip.. I wanted to do more.

Since this current Refugee crisis began I have always followed it closely.. mainly feeling despair and sadness, frustration for our Government's lack of action.. frustration for wanting to help.. not being able to DO enough.  We had been donating clothes and money but I suddenly thought... there are currently 10,000 people living in the Jungle over in Calais.  There must be some Deaf children living in camp.  And thinking about how difficult it is for all the Refugees currently living in camps across Europe.. to be Deaf and to have no specific support.. to not be able to understand what's happening.. to not be able to hear anything and be trying to get on lorries at night.. to have contact with Police and authorities and to not be given an Interpreter.  They are particularly vulnerable.

I googled 'Deaf Refugees' and to my surprise.. not much came up at all.. so a friend of mine had a connection with Liz Clegg.. (the lady who is looking after all the unaccompanied minors in camp).  I managed to message Liz asking if there were any Deaf children and she told me that currently there wasn't but there were a few Deaf adults.  She then passed me to Dan, a volunteer working in camp as part of the Vulnerabilities team.  Suddenly this was all VERY real.. and to be honest I was kind of promising something that I had NO IDEA if I could deliver.  What we needed was an Audiologist that could fit hearing aids remotely.. and also an Interpreter.  The Interpreter was more complicated as the Deaf Refugees (as far as Dan was aware) had some American Sign Language, some German, possibly Arabic.. and Sudanese (and even then, there could be numerous different Sudanese Sign languages).. so getting an Interpreter that would be able to communicate at all with the men was going to be tricky..

I got in touch with Emily, the lady who I travelled to Zambia with and who works for Sound Seekers and she kindly sent an email to their list of Audiologists asking for any help.  I then put a call out on facebook asking if any of my Deaf friends and Interpreters knew of any Interpreters that could be suitable for this type of Interpreting.  Within days Kerry (an Audiologist) had replied saying she would definitely come and would bring her colleague Louise.. and on facebook I was given a number of Interpreter's names that would be the most suitable.  I ended up chatting with Robert (an Interpreter and Senior Lecturer at Preston Uni).. we skyped at midnight one he was totally on board.  He explained that it would probably be best if we also had a Deaf person with us too so to give us the best chance of being able to communicate.. so another call out on facebook and I was given Zoe's name.  I messaged her and straight away she was interested and wanted to come.  Talking further.. we realised that we both lived in Birmingham.. and then couldn't believe it when we found out we lived exactly a 3 minute drive from each other!

So.. suddenly I had my team!  I literally couldn't believe it.  Me and Dan started to look at dates and then Dan got in touch to say that the French Government had announced that they were going to be clearing the camps completely by the 31st October.  We had to act fast.  Alongside clearing the camp.. Refugees were to be put on buses and taken to different places within France.  Nobody yet knows where.. and the last time the camp was half cleared.. many Refugees disappeared.. so doing the trip asap was vital. 

I decided to put another call out on facebook to help cover the costs of the trip and in no time the whole trip was covered with funds left over!  So on Friday 7th October we all took the ferry across to France and spent the day in the Jungle.  For the whole trip I wanted to document my journey somehow, and although I knew that I probably was going to be restricted in what I was able to film.. I thought the best way would be to use Instastories on Instagram and let people follow along.  I've since put the clips together and added subtitles..

So.. here's what we got up to...

The trip was a huge success.  We managed to work with four Deaf refugees and fit them all with hearing aids and we were able to get information about their backgrounds and journey to camp and also give them information about the upcoming evictions etc.  I know that everyone involved in the trip was nervous about their part.. I worried about being able to pull the whole thing together and get everyone there, Dan and Andy (the volunteers) were worried that the Deaf guys wouldn't turn up on the day and we wouldn't be able to find them, Kerry and Louise (the Audiologists) were worried that none of them would be suitable for hearing aids and Robert and Zoe (the Interpreters) were worried that we would meet the guys and we would not be able to understand each other.. but.. everything worked out pretty much perfectly.  I still can't believe it.

Since the trip we've now set up more of an official gofundme page and we have been able to donate £500 to Help Refugees and we have also been able to create a sort of 'kitty' which will be used to hopefully visit more camps across Europe and offer the same sort of support again.. and give support to any Deaf refugees that seek asylum in the UK.  I guess by doing this trip we feel that we can provide some real, practical, specialist support.. and without having to wait for anyone.  We're not an organisation.. there's no red tape.. we have nobody to answer to so we can just, well.. do it.

After the trip we had quite a few really busy weeks so I've really tried to make sure that I've given myself time to reflect.  I just find the camp incredible.  What both the refugees and volunteers have managed to do over there.. I have such huge admiration for each and every one of them.  The resourcefulness is mind blowing.. the pulling together, the organisation, the donations of supplies, skills, time... I was just utterly blown away.  One one hand it really does restore your faith in humanity.  But then there is the other side.  Our government.. the media.. the hate.. the lies.. the violence.. the injustice.. the appalling treatment of refugees by the French police.. the atrocious lack of help.. 

And it is on our doorstep.  Literally on our doorstep.

This trip for me has been huge and proven that you really can make things happen if you just put your mind to it.. and being compassionate but passive is just not good enough.. we all really can do more..

You can keep up to date with any more trips on our new DEAF REFUGEES FACEBOOK PAGE

And if you'd like to donate here's our GOFUNDME page

And I just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone that donated, retweeted, shared, supported.. honestly guys.. without you this trip wouldn't have been possible.. and then one last GINORMOUS THANK YOU goes to Dan, Andy, Kerry, Louise, Zoe and Robert.  I think I said on the ferry on the way back.. I'm so happy we were able to do this trip but I'm ridiculously happy that it was you guys that it was with... so thank you..

I only managed to take a few photos whilst I was there.. Dan advised me that some refugees have kinda had enough of cameras being shoved in their faces so he said it might not be too safe.. and also, showing refugees' faces could impact their asylum requests as any proof of being in a particular country could mean they have to stay there.. 

Here's just a couple from the day..

These were taken when we arrived at the warehouse where all the volunteers live and where all the donations are kept and organised.. 

We then headed for the camp and spent the afternoon in a cafe and a small wooden cabin (where the hearing tests took place) within the jungle..