Kodai Kanal School and Boarding

Kodai Kanal is high up in a mountain range. This means that the climate is very cold, especially at night and in winter they have frosts. The area is very poor and most of the people are farmers with a small piece of land. It is difficult to grow crops because of the poor earth, lack of water and cold. Some people have small shops, but most grown-ups cannot read or write, so cannot get better jobs.

The School has over 1500 pupils aged from 5 to 16, and nearly 300 of them live at the school. Some of them are true orphans but many of them have been abandoned. Most of them do have some relatives, but are they are too poor to be able to afford to look after them. It is a very noisy and happy place, the girls live in one building and the boys in another. They all go to school together.  

In 2003 we gave £500.00 which paid for food and clothing, school uniforms and fees, blankets and other bedding, buckets and cooking pots. 


In 2004, we gave £1700.00, which was used to buy desks and benches; food, clothing, uniforms and medical care for the children.

2005's money (£700.00) bought them extra clothing for the winter months and nice new blankets. Also cooking pots, buckets to store water and other necessities. The cost of transportation from the plains up the mountain double or triple the prices of food etc.

Some of the things we buy might seem quite boring - solar powered lights so the children can see to do their homework in the evenings.  Washing lines, some under cover so that the children can dry their clothes. (They do their own washing, by hand - there are no washing machines!)  As the children sleep on the floor, we have paid for matting, so it is not so cold and blankets.  More exciting items were sports equipment and a computer! Very few schools can afford to have a computer.

In 2006, we gave £1160.00. This was used to repair the school roof and build a new bathroom for the boys, including a water heater.  It also paid to have old desks and benches repaired and to buy lots of new ones.  

"In October 2007, four teachers and six other adults connected with Blisworth school, visited St Theresa's High School at Kodai Kanal.  It was an extremely enriching, exciting, life-changing and moving experience for all of us.  Whilst in the school the children were delightful, happy, bright-eyed, enthusiastic and keen to learn from us.  The school's resources are virtually non-existant; text books appeared to be about fifty years old and were limited in number and the children had to provide their own notebooks and pens.  Right from when we first arrived at the school we had an over-whelming welcome from the sisters and children.  We experienced a taste of their culture, from their amazing hospitality to the poverty in the rural villages where, on one occasion, we were invited to share tea in the home of a local tailor, whose daughter was a trainee sister at the school.  His family lived and slept in a space 3m x 2m but his kindness and generosity were beyond compare." 


Update - February 2008.  In 2007 we sent Kodai over £5000 and when we receive our Gift-Aid payment, there will be about another £1800 to go.  Plans have changed somewhat - new classrooms are needed so that children can stay on at school until they are 16, instead of 12 as they do at the moment. This will mean that they will be able to get much better jobs and have the chance of going on to college or university.  We thought this would mean that they would need two new classrooms each year, for the next four years.  However, lots of children have asked if they can come back to school to finish their education, so it's going to be three classrooms per year.  Instead of converting two old cottages, it has been decided to start a new building.  The whole community is committed to helping the new school and everyone has signed chitties, pledging so much money each year. 

Update - February 2009.  In 2008 just under £6000.00 was sent to Kodai.  Blisworth School has raised LOTS of money for Kodai Kanal.  Some children from Blisworth held a sale and Julie took photos to show the children in India.  These children then wrote thank-you letters to their new friends.

Creaton School also raised LOTS of money.  They also made a poster which most of the children and teachers signed.  The children at Kodai Kanal made a similar poster for their friends at Creaton School!  Creaton School helped to pay for this huge covered area!  Now the children have somewhere sheltered to eat their lunch and to have assembly and functions.  Before they had to have their lunch sitting in the road and so had to move when a vehicle came along.  It rains A LOT in Kodai Kanal so now they don't have to get wet when eating or having assembly.  This covered area is next to the kitchen and there is also a sink so the children can wash their hands and plates.

In order to get permission to start the new school building, lots of work has had to be done on the present buildings.  The new structural improvements include - a new drainage system, all flooring is now solid concrete, rather than wooden with big holes, new ceilings, new roofs. All children have desks and benches instead of sitting on the often wet, floors. (Hurrah!)  Roofs / guttering replaced / repaired so no more buckets in rooms when it rains. Playground / playing field levelled and enlarged and trees planted.
It has taken SO long with Sr. Jacky (the Headmistress) having to have reports prepared by so many government departments, not just the education one. She has met with many problems but that makes us more determined to succeed!  Inflation has hampered all endeavours with building costs rising rapidly. We have given money specifically for the new building, which is in the bank gaining some interest, but nothing can start without permission.

These are photos of the houses some of the children live in.  These houses are right next to a river and flood quite often.


Why do we have global warming???  Because huge areas of forest are being cut down for housing and to plant crops.  (Especially to build mansions for Bollywood stars, who only live in them for a few weeks each year!)  The effects can be seen in that animals and birds which used to live down in the plains are now moving up the mountain.  So the school gardens now get raided by wild pigs and monkeys.  The monkeys have even learnt how to open door handles to get into rooms to steal food!

However, Kodai Kanal School has a much bigger problem - they cannot get permission to start the new school building.  Despite carrying out all the required repair work and completing the necessary paperwork and even complying with each child having at least one school uniform and the library having the specified 3000 books, permission has not been granted.  As they now have 14-16 year-olds, the additional classes have meant that some of the younger children's classrooms are now blocked off corridors.

In 2009 we sent £1925.00 to continue to help the school. 

Sr. Jacky, the Headmistress keeps us up to date as to progress (or lack of it, as far as the new building is concerned!) 

2010 - Thank you Creaton and Blisworth Schools for supporting Kodai Kanal school again this year!  £1463.45 was sent out in 2010 and (most exciting of all!) twelve computers sent out, thanks to Mercedes-Benz of Brixworth!!!!  

2011 visit - Most of the computers were there (they are all there now,) the headmistress was interviewing for a computer teacher and the parlour was about to be converted into the new computer room. 

Below - some of the computers; we are looking forward to seeing them being used in the new computer room!

Sr. Jacky had two things she wanted from us this year - food for the boarding children and a generator to run the computers.  Now, how strange is this!  We had just been given a generator and it was on it's way to her!!!  It also means they can have proper assemblies as there is no electricity until at least 10.00am so they cannot use the microphone system.  

The biggest difference I noticed was the number of children in the Boarding - 288 of them!   Not surprisingly, this year they are just asking for help with food for the children.   The price of food has gone up quite a lot recently and the children's diets are suffering.  It does not cost very much to feed a child, but to feed 288 of them, three times a day, seven days a week is very expensive!

Below:-  some of the girls and boys from the Boarding (the girls on the Home page are also from Kodai.)  
Below them, some children holding a Blisworth School tea towel and a cushion made by children at Creaton School.


2011 update.  A huge THANK YOU to Blisworth school who gave us £158.50.  This is going to help to pay for gas cooking rings for the boarding and school kitchens.  It is now against the law to cut down trees for firewood (which is what they used to use) and with so many children to feed, gas is the most economical fuel.  (See photo below!)

June 2011 - Just what they needed!!!  - £175.00 to go towards food from Creaton School.  Thank you!!!

July 2011 - £311.33 from Blisworth School to pay for food for the Boarders!

August 2011.  Email from Sr. Jacky:-  I started the Computer Class to the Children. The long waited dream of mine is fulfilled through this. I have appointed one teacher for the same and around 250 Children are learning now. Once again a big thanks to Declan for sending and following the same.  May God Bless him and us. One convenient day I shall make a photography of the children and send to you. I have got the Generator from Mr William and it is fine. Thank you for the dispensary items.  Dear Julie I don't know how to thank you all .... May God bless you all.  Convey my wishes to Declan, Celia and Blisworth School, Sue and Creaton School, Mr William and all others.  With Love Jacky

September 2011.  Email from Sr Jacky:-  My sincere thanks to Blisworth School, Celia, Sue Jefferson, Mr. William and your brother in law. May God bless all of them.  I thank Mr. Declan Allen in a special way for his interest to our School. I am sending you the attached photography of Computer students and teacher. I am indeed pleased to train such pupils. I heard from Sr.Igna, that children were excited to go to the class, the narration goes like this. "For the first time I am going to touch the computer, so I am very happy"... etc., Once in every week children are having the computer class. It is a pleasant surprise for all of us. The teachers and sisters are learning too.  With love - Sr. Jacky.

January 2012 - below = one of the gas burners bought by Blisworth School.

Thank you also to Weston Favell School for £500.00 to buy Science lab. equipment.
Below you can see some of the children at Kodai holding letters from their friends at Blisworth School. 

In 2012 we sent an amazing £2510.68 to help the children at Kodai.  This included money to pay for milk for the children in the Boarding - for the first time!

Please visit our other website   www.whatwehadtoeattoday.btck.co.uk    to see the photos of Kodai taken on Julie's visit in November 2012.

Update:-  In 2013 we sent out £2725.00 to help the children at Kodai.  They are very fortunate in that they have many friends helping - so a HUGE thank you to  Blisworth and Creaton Schools for their continued support, Micky-Uncle, Declan-Uncle (who has been helping them for years!!!) Hannah Auntie (who went and worked there in her gap year,) Jo-Auntie for giving a monthly amount to pay for milk and Shirley's Dance Group and Burton Latimer Methodist Church for collecting pennies, also to pay for milk in their tea.

2014 - £2000 was sent out in July and we were very pleased to receive the letter and photos, telling us how the money had been spent.

Our dear Julie,
Greetings and warm wishes from Sr. Little Mary, Sr. Igna and all other community members. Hope you are doing well by the grace and goodness of God.  Here we come before you all to render our heartfelt gratitude. Our children are very happy to have milk in the evening. Because (of you) we were able to give black tea, porrich, boiled grams etc., but now they are getting milk every day.

We bought lab things in order to make the students to equip themselves in their lesson.

Our children were want of sports things, we bought some sports goods, they are very happy and they do play every Sunday afternoon, throw ball, cricket, volley ball etc.

We also bought a digital camera with card reader for our School. Every now and then the Government is asking us to conduct so many programs, competitions and sent a report of the same with photographs. So each time we have to call a photographer from the studio and spent so much money for him.  Since we got camera of our own, we can reduce those expenses.

Now a days telecommunication is one of the method of teaching to get a correct pronunciation, learning by watching is helping a lot for the small ones. Active based learning is very effective to grabs the matters, so we do show some good moral films and action songs and dramas.  Hence we bought a television for St. Theresa Primary School.

80 students were received a set of uniform and sweater. We do provided them charts, papers, files and stickers for the project work based on their studies.  Since it is tri semester our students are submitting projects, activities, mind maps for 40 marks. So they do buy above things very often and they disturb the parents and some of them are not able to afford those things for them. Due to that many of them fail to submit their activities on time. Those children benefited through your generous help.

Since we are having grownup girls in our boarding, having the health and hygiene in our mind we provided them sanitary napkins to keep one selves neat and tidy.

Our children are very much taken up by your loving and selfless service. Children are expressing their gratitude to you all. Along with them we do thank God for you and for your service. It is through your generous help we are able to reveal God’s conditional love and mercy. Once again we thank you for everything and we pray for all your Endeavors.

May God bless you!

With love and prayers,

Sr. Little Mary, Sr. Igna and all the Sisters

2015 - we will be sending out £1789.00, thanks to Celia, Sue, Micky, Jo, Declan, Hannah, Shirley and Pauline's dance group and Burton Latimer Methodist Church.

2016 - £2170 sent out, some of which was used to change this:- 

To this:-  Wow!  What a difference!  

Chimneys replaced, new cooking system, a bit of a clean up and a splash of paint and now it's a kitchen that people don't mind being in!

2017 - £1650.00 sent out.  I visited  Kodai in November and had a lovely time, despite the weather - it was raining when I got there, rained all the time I was there and was still raining when I left.  So rather similar to when the teachers from Blisworth School visited.  To read all about my visit and to see photos, please click on this link:-  


The best news there was that the new school building had finally been completed.  Excuse the poor photo.  It was raining.

There are less children in the boarding now, due to new regulations about how many children in how much floor space.  So no more sleeping in the corridors (not that the children minded!)  They still have a lot of children to feed:-

Poster from Creaton School

I was also very happy to see that the computers that were donated back in 2010, are still in daily use!  How many thousands of children have used them and learnt about computing in all those years?

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