22 years of
THE INDIA PROJECT
The India project is an intercultural and service-learning project based on the international, humanitarian values of Ecolint. The mission of the project? To educate for a better world.
In its twenty second year now, the India Project was founded by Kate and Dave Harrison, Ecolint teachers. During a teacher exchange with Kodaikanal International School in India in 1999, they developed a connection with the Betsy Elizabeth Trust (BET), a grassroots, charitable organisation that had started a crèche programme for children from the most disadvantaged families in rural villages. The concept of the crèche was to offer early education, nutrition and healthcare in a safe and caring environment. This was an opportunity to free parents to work as labourers to support their family, and an opportunity for children to thrive.
The Ecolint student and teacher team made their first visit to Kodaikanal in 2001 and we have returned every year since. We worked in partnership with BET crèche programme to open two new crèches in 2002 and 2003, and there are now three BET crèches serving 150 children in the Kodaikanal area. The crèches give the children a better start in life and they bring hope to the community through education.
As well as the crèche programme, the Ecolint team supports outreach programmes in Kodaikanal, including initiatives for underprivileged women, a school in the tribal village of Thamaraikulam, and the installation of smokeless stoves in family homes. Each one of these projects promotes education and health, helping to break the cycle of poverty and empower the entire community. In turn, the project gives Ecolint students an invaluable life and educational experience.
These crèche and community projects in Kodaikanal and the service learning experience for Ecolint students show the real difference education can make to individuals, communities and the world at large. Year upon year, the next generation in India and here in Switzerland takes a positive step together towards social responsibility and global change.