During the Christmas holidays twenty-three Sixth Form pupils travelled to India to visit the Loyola Kapepaladi School at the Manvi Pannur Mission in Karnataka. The school was established by the Jesuit mission with assistance from the UK based charity, Supporting Dalit Children.
The Dalits, also known as the Untouchables, sit on the lowest rung of India’s social caste system. They make up a quarter of the population and yet have suffered extreme discrimination and oppression for centuries. The Loyola schools aim to provide education opportunities for Dalit children who have been excluded simply due to poverty. The schools receive no government support and rely on capital development and funding from independent donors.
Before leaving for India the group raised an amazing £20,000 through concerts, discos and sports events. With advice from the Jesuits, the pupils decided that the money should be put towards the purchase of two mini buses for the school.
The group spent the first two nights in Goa before taking an eight-hour train journey to the UNESCO world heritage site of Hampi where they spent two days exploring temples.
The group then moved on to Mundgod where pupils spent five days meeting the children at Loyola School. The days were filled with games, work and productive industry. Pupils built a greenhouse, painted children’s murals, delivered lessons on women’s hygiene and sanitary products, helped children write letters to their Polebrook Primary School penfriends.
On the final day they competed in and lost (again) the official cricket Oundle–India match, before returning for Christmas on the 23rd of December.