India 2013 reunion

Monday 27 October 2014

It has been nearly a year since John Casson and the John Casson Foundation took a group from the UK to visit St Mary’s School, Singla, near Darjeeling in India

For those who participated in this once-in-a-lifetime trip, it seems like only yesterday they were there, and the memories of the warm welcome they received from the students at St Mary’s School are still vivid. See the next news item, ‘Children’s Day’, for more information.

John and Jenny Casson’s guests who joined them from the UK at St Mary’s School

John and Jenny Casson hosted a reunion of the group who visited in November 2013 at their house in Devon on 11 October 2014.

The group consisted of regular sponsors, trustees of the John Casson Foundation and those who made the journey to Singla a year ago.

The theme of the evening was India, with traditional Indian costumes being worn by many of the guests, including John Casson. There was a wonderful feast of curry, different types of rice and traditional Indian dishes prepared and served by Jenny Casson for the 19 who attended.

Guests enjoyed catching up with old friends and making new ones while listening to Tibetan chants and Indian music. The main topic of conversation was reflection on the wonderful trip to India and importantly what the group had achieved with generous donations to ensure that the good work at St Mary’s School continues.

The foundation sponsors the running costs of the school and recently started a new project to purchase laptop computers for the students so they can learn computer skills that are an essential part of the state curriculum and that they need to pass their final exams.

A new project that commenced that year was the school welfare programme. This was launched to coincide with last year’s group visit. The programme ensures that through quarterly visits to the school by a medical team, all the students at St Mary’s School get the necessary preventative drugs to try and prevent TB, which is a problem in the Singla area. The medical team also looks for other health issues in the students and, where it detects them, takes the appropriate action. An additional £1,100 was raised by the group in the run-up to the reunion, which will be put towards continuing the work of the welfare programme during 2015.

John said: ‘This was a really great evening, a lot of fun, my thanks to everyone who gave so generously to the school welfare programme both last year, during the visit, and recently. A special mention goes to Jenny, who spent days creating a truly authentic Indian meal which was appreciated and enjoyed by everyone.’