Five Stanborough students spent two weeks teaching in an orphanage in India during the February half-term break. The trip was organised by Mr Kish Poddar, Assistant Headteacher, as part of the community service ethos of the school. The students raised their own airfares and costs to travel to the city of Hosur in Tamil Nadu, India and teach at the BESSO Children’s Home.
The students and teachers gathered together at 4.00 am at the school on a cold February morning to begin their adventure. Yet a warm and colourful welcome awaited them at the gates of the BESSO Children’s Home! The BESSO Children’s home – built by STOP International in 2002 – is home to one hundred orphan children. The BESSO Children’s home also has a Primary and Nursery school that the orphans attend.
The orphans warmed up to the team of new ‘young teachers’ from England immediately. Our students were challenged by the basic facilities at the orphanage, such as using chalk and blackboard, no computers or internet, and the 30 degree temperature; but they soldiered on teaching in English Maths, Geography, English, Citizenship, History, Science, Spelling and Grammar.
Our students used their evenings to prepare their lessons. Their dedication and commitment to teaching the orphans inspired the children to complete their homework assignments and study for class tests. The young teachers were so impressed that they were moved to reward the little children with gifts and sweets for their effort in class.
Daniela, one of our ‘young teachers’, commented: “I had the time of my life. I will keep memories of this trip in my heart forever. To teach such adorable and sweet children was a touching experience. They are orphans yet there seems to be a special joy and happiness about them. I now want to have an Indian sister.”
Elizabeth also commented: “The children out there use a pencil right down until it is finished, whereas in England if we lose it we are able to buy another. I am personally going to stop complaining about things I do not have and start being thankful about things I do have.”
The Principal of the school, Mrs Josephine Ganesh, assessed and rated the teaching of the students from Stanborough School and presented awards. Tanya, Elizabeth and Phoebe received Good Teacher awards, Buya, the Best Teacher award and Daniela received the Excellent Teacher award.
Before the team left for India, Miss Gautran, an accompanying teacher, organised a collection of new underwear from the Stanborough School students and parents. Several dozen sets of underwear were received, packed and taken to India. When these were distributed to the children of the BESSO and the Way To Life orphanages, the delight on their faces was incredible.
Of course it was not all work because the team took two days off for sightseeing, travelling by train to Mysore to see the world famous Mysore Maharajah’s palace, the beautiful bird sanctuary at Ranganathithu and a tour of the city of Mysore shopping for gifts and souvenirs.
Tanya summed up what a trip like this is all about. In her words: “I will never forget the laughs, the fun, the exploring of nature and what God has created, to bring us to an understanding as to why we were placed on Earth, to help others and that’s exactly why I will never forget India.”