Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Mango Tree Goa

We have compiled the following FAQs to answer more immediate questions about our work, in a simple format. If you have a question we haven’t answered then please contact us.

Is Mango Tree Goa a registered charity?

Yes, Mango Tree Goa is a charity registered in England and Wales. Our Charity Registration number is 1148049.

Where is Mango Tree Goa based?

Mango Tree Goa is a UK based charity.

Why is the Charity based in the UK?

There are a number of reasons that the Charity is based in the UK. Firstly, although we are very proud to have supporters from all around, the world the majority are from the UK. Secondly, charities registered in the UK are subject to a high degree of regulation which means donors can have more confidence about the way in which the Charity operates. Last, but not least, because we are UK based we are registered with HMRC to receive Gift Aid on donations made by UK tax payers. This means we get an extra 25% on top of all donations made by a UK tax payer who makes a Gift Aid Declaration, which is a very efficient way of raising extra funds for our work, at no cost to anyone.

Do you have an office and paid staff in the UK?

No. The charity is administered on a voluntary basis by the trustees. We are also very fortunate that our website is developed and maintained on a voluntary basis and our accounts are prepared and examined free of charge. In this way we are able to keep our costs to a minimum to ensure that more of donors’ money is available to fund projects on the ground in India.

Who does Mango Tree Goa help?

Mango Tree Goa helps disadvantaged children and young people in the state of Goa, India. We currently help children between the ages of three and eighteen and plan to help young people in need of support, to complete educational studies, up to the age of 23 if needed.

The families of many of the children we help have migrated from the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Maharastra in the belief that they will make money from the thousands of tourists who visit the state each year, or from the construction work taking place in developing tourist resorts. Their dream of riches rarely materialises and as a result many families live in slums or other poor accommodation. Families are economically poor and uneducated. They tend to be engaged in rag picking, selling on the beaches or casual day labour. It is likely that children will be required to work from a young age to supplement the family income. It is very unlikely that children will attend school without outside intervention and support.

Children living in slums are often described as slum children. The fact that they live in a slum does not define who the children are and we purposely don’t describe them as such.

Do you promote any particular religion?

No. We support children regardless of religion, caste, creed or gender and will only work with individuals and organisations that do the same.

Where do the children you help live?

The children we help live with their families. Most have at least one living parent. Some are orphans but are usually living with a member of their extended family.

What are slum conditions like?

Slum conditions do vary. Our main partner organisation The Mango Tree Trust works directly with children from two “permanent” slums near Mapusa. Many of the families are engaged in rag picking and sell their pickings to a local recycling business from whom they also rent their homes. Generally, the families have to sell the proceeds of their rag picking to their landlord at very poor rates and as a consequence have little opportunity to improve their lot. Families live in extremely poor conditions, in congested shanty type homes. There is neither drainage nor permanent water supply and sanitary facilities are non-existent. Conditions worsen during monsoon. Although families do their best to protect their homes with plastic sheeting, habitation is undoubtedly more difficult. One of the slums is low lying, which means that during the monsoon it becomes water logged. Heavy rains cause water to run straight through the slum, making access more difficult.

Do the children you help live in Goa all year?

The vast majority of the children we help remain in Goa throughout the year and most remain in full time education. Families from out of state do often go back to their villages for major festivals and some school holidays, but most return to carry on working and to allow the children to return to school. Occasionally, however, families return to their villages for extended periods and some never come back to Goa.

Doesn’t the Government already provide a free education to all children in India?

It is a fact that as a result of the Right to Education Act every child has the right to attend school between the ages of 6 and 14 and that child labour is banned. In practical terms, however, as a result of the difficult economic and social conditions prevailing in India both of these are difficult to enforce.

Many uneducated parents living in slum conditions simply aren’t bothered about their children being educated and would rather they were supporting the family. Some are concerned that their sons are educated but see no reason to educate a daughter. Whilst there are government schemes to provide uniforms for the very youngest children there are still many costs associated with attending school and these would be regarded as prohibitive for many families. Many children do not have a birth certificate, which is assumed to be a requirement to gain entry to school. In fact school can be accessed without a birth certificate but parents have no idea how to go about this.

Again in practical terms even if a child has a birth certificate how could they succeed at school without any preparation for school days? Many have no idea how to play and interact let alone hold a pencil. Many will have never used an indoor toilet. Many won’t possess a school bag or any stationery supplies and will be lucky to have a hand me down school uniform to start the school year. Worse still imagine turning up for school and being taught in a language you have never heard before. Many of the children we help speak Kannada at home whilst Goans speak Konkani. At most schools, however, children are taught in Marathi from standard I-IV before switching to English in standard V. Imagine the difficulty. If children are sick and their parents cannot afford medication or are unwilling to miss a day’s labour to seek help. A simple illness may mean a protracted absence from school. If children are hungry it’s difficult to concentrate and learn.

All of these factors make it difficult for many children to access and succeed at mainstream school. Many will never go and many of those that do will drop out, but with a helping hand the future could be much brighter.

How do you help?

We help in a number of different ways. Fundamentally we believe that children have the right to a healthy educated childhood, to be safe from abuse, to attend school, to be treated with respect and to be heard. They have the right to behave like children and the right to play. Above all we believe that education is a child’s main route out of poverty.

Mango Tree supports five main projects - all of which are focussed on education. Our main partner is The Mango Tree Trust which runs our Mango House, Colva, Bags4School and Back2School projects. We also fund a project in the Chimbel area of Goa which is run by the Grace Educational Trust.

MANGO HOUSE

You can read all about the Mango House project on our website here. In short the Trust supports around 175 children who live in two nearby slums and other poor quality accomodation. It provides a registered informal pre-primary school which helps prepare children for life at mainstream school. It helps them gain access to main stream school, supports them in school and monitors attendance and any issues at school. An afternoon tuition programme for up to 75 children Monday to Friday is conducted and extra tuition classes for older children who cannot be accommodated at Mango House are also funded. All children on the Mango House list are provided with a healthy nutritious meal and fruit Monday to Friday. A full time nurse is employed to provide medical care and encourage healthy habits and a social worker and counsellor are employed to support both children and their families. Second hand clothes and toys are collected and distributed amongst children in need both at Mango House and in neighbouring slums. Mango House also celebrates birthdays and festivals and ensures that the children they help get chance to play and have fun.

COLVA

The Colva project is based in South Goa and supports around 20 children of beach sellers by providing afternoon tuition classes and a snack each day.

BAGS4SCHOOL PROJECT

Our Bags4School project provides around 350 disadvantaged children with a school bag filled with all manner of school and healthcare supplies and an umbrella. The bag and its contents all contribute to ensuring a child has the necessary equipment to attend school and is encouraged to take a pride in their appearance and feel confident in school. Providing these items costs around £7.50 – you can read more about the scheme here.

BACK2SCHOOL PROJECT

Our Back2School scheme provides the same children with a school uniform. The Government does provide one set for the youngest children but thereafter nothing is provided. Without the correct school uniform a child cannot attend school. In addition all of the children in the Mango House and Colva projects are provided with footwear for school and the youngest are provided with raincoats. Providing a uniform costs around £5 – you can read more about the scheme here.

CHIMBEL PROJECT

Our Chimbel project is located in the Chimbel area of Goa. The area contains a large densely packed slum occupied by around 10,000 people who have migrated from other states. Through its registered pre-primary school and afternoon tuition classes our project helps around 190 children daily.

How many children does Mango Tree Goa help?

We support around 375 children daily. In addition we provide around 400 school uniforms and over 300 school bags to the children in our projects and to disadvantaged children referred to us by local schools, authorities and Child Line.

Do you have any long term plans?

Apart from continuing our existing projects we aim to eventually provide The Mango Tree Trust with a permanent base. Their current premises are rented and we believe it is essential that they have security about premises, in order to be assured that they can carry out their good works in future.

How can I learn more?

You can read all about our projects on our website at http://www.mangotreegoa.org/OurProjects.htm. You can subscribe there to our newsletter which we email out quarterly. If you are a facebook user we also have our own facebook page which you can find at www.facebook.com/mangotreegoacharity. We aim to update our page weekly with our news and information. To receive this in your newsfeed simply visit our facebook page and hit the Like button.

How can I help?

Almost all our funds come from individual donors and fundraising so we really do need your help. There are many ways you can do this. You can donate money or gifts in kind. You can fundraise or you can simply spread the word about the Charity at home or abroad. We’ll appreciate whatever you choose to do to help us. If you would like to read more about how to help, please visit our How to Help page or contact us at info@mangotreegoa.org.