I was delighted to be able to accompany the Director, Cheme Dolma Palden on this year’s trip to identify the next group of children to join the Pestalozzi scholarship journey at the Indian Village. First of all we went to Bihar in Eastern India, were we had an amazing turnout of 40 children accompanied by their parents or carers. After everyone had been addressed by Mrs Palden, “Simon Says” was played with the children to relax them before starting the formal tests. The next day was a long day of marking the papers and identifying which candidates needed home visits which we then carried out over the next few days.
Next we went to Eastern Nepal, this was another adventure in itself as the infrastructure was quite limited and we were on dirt tracks that were heavily rutted by lorries carrying broken stones and if it had rained, the vehicle would get stuck in deep mud. Our Land Rover had to have a shocker replaced and eventually we had to change vehicles as the pump wasn’t working and it kept over heating as we tried to go up hill and down dale! Again we had a good turnout on the selection day and a lot of home visits to do which included a 5 hour round trip by trekking down to a valley village and back again.
Finally we headed to Southern Indian to the Tibetan settlements. Again we had help from Alumni and current scholars. It’s really nice to see that the students want to give back and help children that are in a similar position. All the children performed well so again we had a lot of home visits. Thankfully though, this time we had tarmac roads so this part was not too arduous.
We also had a small selection day back in the Dehradun village which had Tibetan candidates and one Indian candidate. We needed help to complete the home visits and again had the support from the alumni.
Selections are a very scientific process with not only academic results taken into account but also the child’s home situation. One thing I know is that it is extremely rewarding to play a small part in potentially changing a child’s life if they are selected for a scholarship. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with PestalozziWorld India since 2016 and to see the children grow and develop is truly inspiring. I believe this year will be no exception with some very deserving children joining us in the near future.
By volunteer, Nina Womack