In this year-like-no-other there have been highs as well as extreme lows. The school year began happily with a New Year party. Mrs B, a long-term supporter of the school, brought snacks and sweet halva for everyone. Not long after, there was Holi where a great deal of colour was thrown about by children and teachers. Well, really!
Then came Covid. The lockdown was so fast in India it left many stranded without access to work, money and food. The students’ families were all affected. The local Sikh community served one meal a day to everyone living in the area, and we in the UK saw disturbing pictures of our kids in the long line up for food. Our appeal for help brought swift and generous contributions for which we are still very grateful. A lump sum of 2000 rupees was given to each of 73 families and it was both timely and hugely helpful. It tided people over for that crucial month or so, until they started to move back into work. No-one amongst our school community caught Covid – except for dear Mrs B. Thankfully, she soon recovered.
The school closed but lessons carried on at home, supported by mobile messages and support from our teachers. Not all the students kept up their schoolwork over this long period without the discipline of school. But many did. Recently, small groups have been asked in to school for short sessions. The younger children came to make Diwali cards. Classes 4 & 5 came last week, and celebrated three things all at once: Guru Nanak’s birthday, a prize-giving AND Christmas!
A huge highlight in this testing time was when the very first of our ex-students gained a place at university. Suraj chose to do Computer Science (B.Eng) at Chandigarh University and started his studies in October. We wish him well – and hope he is the first of many of our students to go into tertiary education.
There is hope that schools may re-open soon in the new year. For these kids that time cannot come fast enough.
Thank you, teachers. Thank you, community. Thank you, supporters, for all your help. Happy Christmas from Bright Sparks UK.