Of the partnerships originally set up over 20 years ago in India, Ethiopia and Nicaragua, we have continued to develop our relationship with Sri Jayendra School in Tamil Nadu. In recent years, we have also fostered a relationship with the TAG Rugby Trust in Zambia and Zimbabwe. We are extremely proud of how these partnerships have grown over the years.
Sadly, the global pandemic has curtailed our overseas partnership trips, although we have combined our efforts to try and raise funds to support our partners.
ABOUT THE TAMIL NADU PROJECT
Sri Jayendra School is in Tamil Nadu, about 50 miles from the southern tip of India.
Despite the huge cultural differences, the atmosphere in the school is remarkably similar to that at Mill Hill. They are very keen on extra-curricular activity such as dance, music, and sport though obviously the facilities are extremely limited. The pupils are charming, happy, keen and delightful and have a friendly and productive relationship with their teachers.
The Headmistress, Usha Raman, is anxious to improve the chances of even the poorest children in area. Although the fees are very low many still cannot afford them. This is why the partnership with Mill Hill is so valuable. 200 economically disadvantaged pupils are sponsored by Old Millhillians and parents and we also support a dozenTsunami victims and a similar number of very poor Brahmin boys we call the ‘little monks’. Our funding of capital projects has enabled the school to expand to 3,000 pupils aged from three to seventeen.
Every summer a group of Millhillians visits Sri Jayendra to teach conversational English. This exposure has had a remarkable effect on the Indian pupils’ perception of themselves and their aspirations and ambitions. The effect of the visits on the Millhillians is also profound.
Usha was the guest speaker at the inaugural virtual Foundation Day ceremony in 2020. Her speech eloquently articulated the position of the school, the value of our partnership and their hopes for the future. You can watch her speech here.
How you can support
In response to the harrowing and worsening situation in India, The Foundation has taken steps to support our partners at Sri Jayendra School and the local community to manage the aftermath of the pandemic.
We want to make a profound and long term contribution to the cause, and we hope that you will help us in our endeavours. You can donate here.
Currently, the school in Tamil Nadu (Sri Jayendra) is closed and remote learning is taking place. Sadly, in villages and remote areas where the pandemic is rampant, some families have not been able to be contacted and many pupils are therefore missing out on essential schooling.
Tragically, several children have lost parents to COVID-19. In addition, over 50 per cent of the School’s families have been so badly affected by the pandemic that they have been unable to fulfil their commitment to pay the School fees and their children’s futures remain uncertain. Unfortunately, this is just the initial outcome of COVID-19 and we do not know how far the ramifications will stretch.
This year you can help through the following initiatives.
Central Hardship Fund: a one-off gift to support Sri Jayendra with it’s overall day-to- day costs of educating its 3000 pupils and supporting specific initiatives within the School that promote excellence. This may help with remote learning and resources to support those children who do not have access to school at the moment, or help with the development of ICT and classroom resources.
Sponsor a child: many children have had their futures left uncertain by the pandemic, and experienced deaths of family members and financial hardship. You can help to alleviate this uncertainty by giving them the knowledge that their education is secure. Sponsoring a child is a long term commitment (including books and resources) and costs £350 a year. This will make a substantial impact on the lives of the pupils and their families.
You can set up an annual or monthly direct debit here.
We know from our own experiences in the UK the devastation that COVID-19 can bring. We feel strongly that our Foundation can mobilise towards supporting the community in Tamil Nadu.