Press Release

08 August 2013

Money raised through Canterbury Christ Church University's Golden Jubilee celebrations has helped children in India.

Christ Church staff and students on their visit to India
Christ Church staff and students on their visit to India

A Memorandum of Understanding has also been signed with a local University in the Tamil Nadu region to strengthen the connection between Christ Church and that region of India.

Since 1999, the Faculty of Education, at Canterbury Christ Church University, has visited the Tamil Nadu and Kerala states of India to meet and share experiences with the local University, schools and neighbouring villages.

As part of the University’s Golden Jubilee celebration, last year, the University raised £3000 for the Goodwill Children’s Home, in Pattiveeranpatti, to improve the quality of life and offer opportunities for children in the region.

The Goodwill Homes charity focuses its work in South India, taking in children and young adults, who need to be cared for, into Goodwill Children’s Homes. The homes provide the children with everyday necessities and more including security, medical care, good food, schooling and play time, all of which is supported by Christ Church.

The money raised through special Jubilee celebration events held by Christ Church has helped to build a new library, to which the charity dedicated the name, ‘The Canterbury Library’, new wash rooms, computers and a wide-screen television.

Diana Strauss, organiser of the trip and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Childhood Studies, was invited to officially cut the ribbon to open the new facilities at the girls’ home. She said: "The annual study visit in July to South India benefits our University’s academics and students alike because it challenges possible professional assumptions and personal stereotypes.

A plaque honouring the University's contribution
A plaque honouring the University's contribution

“The physical and sensory stimulation supports deep, experiential learning. Academics, friends and students in India benefit from the relationships that began in friendship and have subsequently evolved over the years into strong mutual exchanges on an intellectual level, enhancing the friendly relations still further."

The trip also included visiting other Goodwill Children’s homes in Thandigudi, where the ten visiting Christ Church students taught 5-11 year olds as well as visiting   the Tribal Outreach Project (TORP) which helps villagers in remote areas to be self-sustaining with drinking water and housing. In addition primary aged children are collected every morning and chaperoned to the nearest local village school. Education and health care, as well as some occasional support for school uniforms and equipment, are all significant elements of the outreach work at Goodwill.

The University has been visiting the Goodwill Children’s homes for fourteen years running extra-curricular trips taking a group of students to the remote villages. Dr Stephen Scoffham, Principal Lecturer in Primary Education at Christ Church University, was the original organiser of the trips in 1999, where he initiated collaborative projects with the local institutions and charities. Stephen said: “The relationships that we have built up with various institutions in South India have really enriched our lives.

“The experiences that we have encountered on each visit have had a profound effect on me, my colleagues and several hundred students over the years. I believe our contributions and collaboration with the Goodwill Children’s Homes have not only helped those in need in the Indian villages, but have inspired all who have visited.”

Making chapatis at the Gandhigram Rural Institute
Making chapatis at the Gandhigram Rural Institute

At the end of the first week during this year’s visit, Canterbury Christ Church academics and students also visited the Gandhigram Rural institute (GRI) which is the highest rated    University in Tamil Nadu. After several months of negotiations, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the two institutions providing a framework within which staff and student exchanges can be quickly established.

The memorandum will allow Canterbury Christ Church staff as well as MA and doctoral students the chance to take specific areas of study at the GRI and also offer their teaching skills.

The GRI is one of several universities in India established in the 1960s within the Prime Minister’s Department to promote Gandhian principles in higher education. This commitment from the GRI to an ethos of enhancing the sustainability and self-reliance of local and global communities through the daily action of staff and students made GRI a desirable strategic partner for Christ Church University.

Patrick Meehan, Senior Lecturer in Childhood Studies, who went on this year’s visit, said: “For the past fourteen years the Faculty of Education has run an annual staff/student trip to the South Indian States of Kerala and Tamil Nadu as a way of developing a global outlook on Education for our degree programmes and their graduates. 

“For several years now this trip has included a visit to the Gandhigram Rural Institute (GRI) in Tamil Nadu because it provides opportunities for personal interaction with academic staff and students at an Indian university with a very similar ethos to Canterbury Christ Church.”

Notes to Editor

Canterbury Christ Church University

  • Teacher training at Christ Church is graded "outstanding" by Ofsted
  • We are one of the South East’s largest provider of education, training and skills to the public services

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 94% of our most recent UK graduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2012 UCAS).
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2011/12 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey

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Last edited: 05/12/2017 04:25:00