Pandithitta School


In 2005 the Parish Priest asked the Sisters to start an English Medium School at Pandithitta. Everyone was so happy that there was a local school, although the classes were held in the Sisters bedrooms as there wasn't a school building. The money to build one came through the Parish Priest from a Swiss engineer. The other great need was for toilets - the then 135 children and the Sisters were all using the one toilet in the Convent! Thanks to Don Delanoy, his family and friends, the toilet block was built.
 


Their other problem was water, which was being fetched by hand from down the hillside. Sr Tessy heard that there was a priest who was a water diviner so she rang him to ask for his help - and he was coming to Punalur the very next day so said he would call. He located water right next to the school building and said that it was 40 feet below the surface; but that they should dig 50 feet down to ensure a good supply. A test bore hole located the water and the well was sunk - they still had to draw the water by hand, but at least it was a good supply and closer to the school and convent. Children United! gave the money for the necessary plumbing and there are now two water containers on the top of the school building and a pump supplies water to the convent as well.
 
The next project was another building, this time funded by the RASCOB foundation in USA, which included classrooms for the LKG and UKG (lower and upper kindergarten).  The estimate was for 9 lakhs rupees, but because of the fluctuations in exchange rates and the inflation in India, there was not enough money to complete it. In 2009 we gave £1500.00 to finish the two classrooms. 

 
As the parents are not educated, and so cannot help their children with their studies, the teachers and Sisters give additional coaching after school to those who need it. Only a few parents are able to contribute anything to the schools fees. The childrens health is generally good, because of the food supplements they are given - rice, gram (lentils) and Horlicks if needed.

Julie's first visit to Pandithitta was in February 2009; she was expecting a small village school, but this is what she saw!  A huge new school, nearly completed.  The school is in a very rural area and the children walk in from the tiny surrounding villages.   

 

Some of the children performed a show for Julie.  These girls were very good at dancing.  Julie was so impressed at how well the children were doing, especially as some had only been attending school for a few years.  They were all clean and tidy, polite and speaking very good English - even the nursery children knew English Nursery rhymes and phrases.



Some children invited Julie to visit their homes - the girl in the middle of the photo with her hand up, lives in the shack below, with her parents and three sisters, two of whom also attend the school.     

Julie was SO shocked to see that clean and tidy children lived in homes like this, without running water, electricity or bathrooms.  This home was one 'room', with a mud floor, tarpauline 'walls' and a roof made from old rusty corrugated iron sheets.  There was nothing in the house, just a piece of rope hanging from one side to the other, over which the clothes were hung.  That is why we want to help this school - if the children get a good education they can then get better jobs than their parents and not be poor anymore.

As well as the family and friends of Don Delanoy, we would also like to thank Corby Inner Wheel, Oundle U3A and Christ the King Church, Kettering for supporting this School.

2011 visit:-  The changes here were easy to see after two years. The school used to stand in a building site with piles of sand, bricks etc. Now there are walls and paths and lots of trees and bushes have been planted, so it looks finished.  First (and most importantly!) I wanted to see the new library. Some of the rooms have been changed around, so the library and reading room is now where the nursery used to be. Most noticeable were the three, new metal book cases. Not just wooden shelving as I was expecting. This area has terrific storms during the rainy season, so if the books were on ordinary shelves then they would absorb the damp air and would not last very long. The book cases were full of books, most of which were paid for by Standen's Barn School and there are book labels in the books to prove it!

One of the THREE bookcases and the headmistress with a book of pictures made by children at Standen's Barn School.



Other changes - they now have a 200m square playground!  How do you build a playground when the school is built on the side of a steep hill?  Answer - cut the top of the hill off!

 

There are now 239 children in the school, including 72 in the nursery.  Our next challenge is to equip a science laboratory for the school - and this money has just been given by the True Volunteer Foundation!!!  Photos here as soon as we receive them.     

Thank you to Standen's Barn School who have now given another amount of money - this time to buy games and sports equipment for the children.  Photos here when we get them!

November 2011 - and photos just arrived of first lot of science equipment and the children's new games:-








The completed science lab!!!







This school now has everything it needs and so we can concentrate on other projects.  (It won't stop me from going to visit them from time to time though!)






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