Throughout lockdown, our students have been reading uplifting stories, live, every day, to groups of children living in sometimes difficult conditions in Bangalore, India. This virtual exchange allows both parties to connect together in an uplifting and meaningful way, to share a story book, ask questions and learn from each other.  The idea stems from a five-year relationship we have built with the Parikrma Foundation in India, where we work on joint projects together while gaining inspiration and support from one another.

The stories are being read aloud and live streamed remotely, by students in the Lower 6, for one hour per day.  Favourite book readings to date, include Wind in the Willows, Revolting Rhymes and Winnie the Pooh.  The children from India look forward to the sessions and are particularly inquisitive about England, often asking lots of questions.  Involvement in the initiative is entirely voluntary, but we have been overwhelmed by the uptake with more than 30 students signing up to the daily rota.

Mr Turner, our Director of Co-Curricular explains: “Our students are really enjoying connecting with children from other countries and cultures while they are home learning. When we originally put out the option to take part in reading stories to them during lockdown, the response was incredible.  Many children have been in lockdown in India since March last year, so these stories really do light up their day and despite the poor conditions that many of these children are living in, the conversation is very much on an equal footing and the Habs students are learning a lot about life in India during lockdown.  There are lots of animated questions from both parties and lots of laughter.”

The partnership with the Parikrma Foundation aims to help to raise awareness of the challenges the world faces and for young people in the UK to build relationships with children from different places and cultures.

Mr Turner added: “We are very keen to nurture our own students to become truly global citizens and our emphasis with the Parikrma link is very much on joint projects and learning from one another. The children at Parikrma have taught us so much about resilience, endurance and the importance of learning and teaching. It has been a humbling experience to be involved with such an inspirational organisation and we hope to continue with sessions like these in the future.”