Staithes schoolchildren aim to help pupils in poverty

Youngsters in India who are corresponding with pupils at Seton School, thanks to a project they are involved with.
Youngsters in India who are corresponding with pupils at Seton School, thanks to a project they are involved with.

Pupils at Seton School in Staithes have just established an exciting link with school children in India, as part of their global citizenship studies.

Hearing of Project Mala, a Yorkshire-based charity which provides education for

children living in poverty in rural areas in part of India, Seton School Council wanted to find out more – and led some research into the charity’s work.

Before long, the Key Stage Two children were thinking of ways to support the charity and to connect with the children in India on a more personal level.

They wrote letters to the children, in the hope that they could understand more about the children’s school experiences, their interests and ambitions and about their way of life in India.

During the summer holidays, their head teacher Helen Isaac visited India and two of the Project Mala schools in Guria and Turkahan, to hand deliver those letters and to meet some of the children, from pre-school to year 12, as well as their teachers.

Staff explained how they organise learning and the children spoke passionately about their education and were happy to practise their English.

The letters went down a treat with the older children. They asked lots of questions about life in North Yorkshire and about Seton School and its locality.

Pictures of the school cat provoked quite a discussion too.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Mrs Isaac, “and an immense privilege to be able to witness first-hand the wonderful work that Project Mala is doing.

“Travelling between these two rural schools highlighted their very remoteness and the journey to school was clearly quite a challenge for many, but eager school children arrive promptly every day ready for their lessons.

“All children are provided with hot meals at the school and some children board.”

Mrs Isaac added: “Facilities are very basic compared with schools in England, but they are clean and adequate and staffed by talented teachers who are innovative in their practice. The charity receives no government funding, so donations and sponsorship are vital to its continued success.”

Meanwhile, they will have a very busy time reading through the many letters which were sent back to Seton from children in India.

The hope is that the school link will develop over time to build on this opportunity. As well as having a greater appreciation of the wider world and the diversity of societies and cultures within it, children from both schools will continue to benefit from their unique, albeit long-distance, friendship.

Seton School children have chosen to adopt Project Mala as their chosen charity for the new school year and hope to raise enough funds to sponsor a child through his or her education, with the School Council busy planning their fundraising activities this term.

Click here to find out more about the project.