Pupils from Alton Convent School in Hampshire spent their summer cementing links with their sister school in India, and taking part in inspirational charitable work.
Eighteen sixth formers experienced three life changing weeks in the continent. The pupils volunteered at St Joseph’s School, Varanasi, and were humbled to be invited to see some of the children in their home environment. This biannual trip first took place in 2008 and has made a significant impact on both the pupils and the villages which they help – raising over £3000.
The trip closed with the opportunity for students to explore some of the wondrous sights of Varanasi, the spiritual capital of India. Yet for most sixth formers the simple sight of small child clasping a new pencil or wearing new shoes had the biggest impact. The pupils were accompanied on the trip by members of staff including Headmaster, Mr Graham Maher.
Mr Maher reflected,
‘As I returned from our expedition to India, which stirred the conflicting mixture of emotions including awe, wonder, sadness and anger, I am very pleased that once again our sixth formers equipped themselves admirably. They excelled in their teaching and commitment to some very poor children in Varanasi and, as our expedition progressed, demonstrated the stoical approach that is necessary when travelling in that particular region of the world.’
Alton Convent has a second sister school in Barranquilla, Colombia, which was also visited by staff over the summer. Dr Jane Gould, Head of Modern Foreign Languagues and English teacher Adrian Warner spent two weeks at the school and finalised plans for a student exchange. The programme will start in November when five Colombian pupils will visit the UK.