Tamil Nadu Sri Jayendra School Partnership Project
This partnership project enables British pupils to experience the culture and history of Tamil Nadu while challenging and stretching them to teach 3-4 hours a day in order to help pupils improve their written and spoken English. The English pupils also raise funds which enable orphans and pupils from very poor families to access this bilingual education and so improve their own future prospects.
The aim of the partnership project is to support Sri Jayendra School in 3 main ways; 1) financially, by raising money to fund capital projects and the education of pupils who could not otherwise attend the school; 2) by offering a periodic teacher exchange programme in which teachers from Sri Jayendra visit Mill Hill School for 3 weeks to teach and observe lessons; 3) by taking groups of between 15 and 25 pupils to Sri Jayendra for 2-3 weeks each year so that they can help teach English to the pupils in Standards 5-8 and learn more about the School and Tamil Nadu music, dance and culture in general.
Usha and Nirmala are the two incredible women who, over 30 years ago, had the vision, dedication and energy to set up and run an 'English Medium' school for the children of their town. Starting with just a dream conceived over their connecting garden fence, they wished to provide the opportunity for pupils in the Sankarnagar District to have a binlingual education - one which would offer them a much greater diversity of employment opportunities - including the opportunity to gain jobs outside the state and, perhaps, internationally. Today the School educates nearly 3,000 pupils (ages 3-18). The level of education that Sri Jayendra provides is first class. A high percentage of their pupils qualify for university, many have won National awards and several have been selected to play sport at national level. Many of the pupils are from very poor backgrounds; some are orphans. The funds raised by Mill Hill School for Sri Jayendra offer these pupils the gift of education and consequently opportunities which would have otherwise been beyond their reach.
Only simple resources are required such as mini whiteboards, pens and pencils and coloured paper.
During the 20 years of this partnership project Sri Jayendra school has grown from a few hundred pupils to over 3000. While there have been some major donations to support capital projects from Old Millhillians or the parents of Old Millhillians, the funds raised annually support orphans and very poor children from the district who would not otherwise have access to dual language education (state education is only in Tamil). Hundreds of children have been helped over the years and hundreds more will graduate in the future as a result of this partnership. In addition, the teachers who go out to Tamil Nadu - and those Sri Jayendra teachers who come to England - form strong and productive relationships which help develop their skills and pedagogy.
Lower Sixth Boys and Girls.
The project is repeated annually.