Twenty pupils and six members of staff taking part in the India trip gathered at Heathrow airport on Boxing Day for the 10 hour flight to Bangalore. The pupils and staff had raised £12,000 for the charity Supporting Dalit Children, which helps the work of the Jesuits in Manvi and Mundgod, Karnataka, India.
The pupils raised the money through a variety of fundraising activities over the previous eight months, including sponsored walks, concerts and events.
The group arrived at Bangalore in the morning and took a bus to visit the beautiful markets of Mysore. They then boarded the first 12 hour overnight train to Hampi, where they spent two days visiting the temples of the Unesco world heritage site.
They then travelled to Goa for three nights, spending New Year on the beautiful beach in Agonda. The group practised yoga on the beach and also went on a boat trip to see the dolphins.
They arrived at Loyola school for the start of its Lent term and were given a very special welcome worthy of rock stars at an introduction in which they were garlanded and cheered by all the children in the school.
They spent the next five days split into three different groups, rotating around different activities each day. Each group spent time building a playground at the hostel, playing with the children, teaching English through nursery rhymes and song at the school, painting murals on classroom walls and visiting the more remote hostels in rural villages.
The highlight for most of the group was the last day when they inaugurated the children’s playground that they had fundraised for. The excitement and joy of the children as they rushed to enjoy the new slides and swings was very special.
They enjoyed a cricket match against a select Indian XI, and got close to winning after having been soundly beaten on previous occasions.
The group returned to school just in time for the start of the new Term, weary but happy. Mr Charters hopes to run the trip for Sixth Formers in December 2019.
To learn more about the trip, watch the pupils' video below: