India Trip

Each year, year 10s raise money through a winter bake sale and other events for a trip to India
to donate the money to education there. They visit the Peach Tree Crèche, which students pay
fully for, as well as the Grace Kids Center and the Little Lilies, which students pay half of. This
trip is a great opportunity to learn and to be of service.
In the year 2000, two teachers named Mr and Mrs Harrison, who are retired now, came up with
the initial idea of the trip in the geography curriculum, and the school has offered it ever since.
Ms Shippey took over the responsibility of organising the trip, and has since devoted a
whopping ten years on this project!

The year 10’s leave for India on the first of April and will be gone for one week of school and
one week of the Easter holidays. Each year, too many students apply for the trip and not
everyone is able to go, so students have to write a letter of motivation about why they would like
to participate in this project, what they hope to get out of it, and what they believe they can
contribute overall. After this, The teachers interview the students, and the prospective students
must also attend the winter market, which allows them to see whether the student turns up on
time and how well they participate.

Ms Shippey calls this project “a service while learning,” because over ten days, students visit
crèches that Ecolint has helped every year since 2000, contributing to school life and observing
how the crèches are operated. Around fifteen students from LGB join nineteen of our students.
Three of La Chat’s teachers join them, as well as two LGB teachers and a nurse.
In 2018, our school had a fundraising event where they raised a lot of money. Now, Ecolint
plans to buy new land and sell the old land because the Peach Tree Crèche is a small crèche,
so the plan is to build it somewhere else, so the children can have a bigger playground. At the
moment, their playground is the size of the bathrooms in our school. Ms Shippey hopes that
they finish the construction of the school within a year.

The schools are not religious, but they do document which religion the children are because
they want the school to be diverse and to have students from all kinds of backgrounds. They
select children by the criteria of having poor parents. After a long day of school, students return
home to eat dinner, play and sleep

In the first few days after their arrival, students go to Chennai then take a night train to
Kodaikanal. They visit temples and the farmer’s market, before visiting the crèches. Y10s pick
where they want to visit first, and they usually choose to go to the Peach Tree Crèche. After
that, students choose whichever crèche they would like to visit for the week.
Ecolint students do several projects, such as the Cook Stove project, where they reinstall a
stove In the children’s home so that if children play in the same room where the mother is
cooking, they do not hurt themselves. After installing the stove, students create a hole into the
ceiling to serve as a chimney. The other major reason is that many young children die from
having bad air in their homes because of emissions from the fires of the stove. Ecolint students
have installed thousands of stoves as well as chimneys. It costs thirty francs in total per stove.

Each year, students also buy backpacks for the children who are five and who will enter primary
school, as well as all the supplies they need every day at school. Using the money Y10’s
earned from their numerous bake sales, students bought school supplies for all fifty children in
all three of the crèches.
Ms Shippey finds the most exciting part of the trip each year to be visits with the teachers at the
crèches. They always warmly welcome Ecolint students back, especially since Ms Shippey has
now known them for more than ten years. Ms Shippey finds the most challenging part of the trip
is to keep the Ecolint students happy, safe, and healthy. But it is well worth the efforts by
everyone, as it is not an experience many thirteen and fourteen-year-olds get to do.

Ananya Srinivasan, year 9

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