We were approached last year to design and develop a website for Linda Cooper who is the driving force behind The Varanasi Welfare Foundation, a charity set up to help the impoverished community around Varanasi, India. In one of her frenetic visits back to the UK we managed to get enough time with her to capture a brief. All other communication on the project was done via email to India. Linda, however, leaves an impression on you at a meeting, making you live and breath her experiences and her passion for the NGO that she has set up and ploughed everything in to.

We hope you feel we have done the project justice, I know that the team in Varanasi love it. What we have tried to do is capture the warm, earthy, neutral tones of India and use this as a back drop to the site. This allows the colourful and characterful images of the women and children who use the VWF to sing out. The message is simple and easily conveyed through these inspiring pictures and few words.

I asked Linda to write a blog that we can publish here to help get the word out in the UK.

“Barry asked me to write a blog about my NGO in India; Varanasi Welfare Foundation; trouble is I don’t know what a blog is. The whole social networking, blogging, tweeting stuff has just passed me by. His team created a great website for my NGO that would be simple to update, if only I could just get my head around it, instead the whole thing just terrifies me!!  I am a hands on, face to face people person, which thankfully my work in the charity and voluntary sector has allowed me to enjoy for many years.

One day 4 years ago my life was turned upside down. Everything I knew had changed and I could not see a future for myself. Then a friend took me on a holiday to India.

India is a place of extremes with great beauty and immense poverty on a scale I have never seen anywhere in the world.  But I found a warmth and an indomitable spirit amongst the people which made me feel very humble and put my troubles into perspective. So when a group of local people in Varanasi asked for my help, how could I refuse?  So the Varanasi Welfare Foundation was born. The NGO is very much about local people of all faiths working together to create a better future for the children of their community. We have set up a centre where girls learn knitting, sewing, painting, English and computer skills. Many of our children live on the street or in slums so basic numeracy and literacy classes are also needed along with information on health and hygiene. We employ local women, housewives, as teachers who look after the 100 or so children who attend every day. Our numbers are growing and the need is still great but for at least a few young people we are making a difference; and they have given me a new life.”

Please link, like or share the blog, but most importantly visit the website for more information, donate what you can or volunteer – every little helps.

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