We arrived at Ahava Guest House about 12 noon on 9 October. The journey from Soreng to Kalimpong starts at 1320 metres above sea level, drops to 100m asl at the Melli crossing of the Teesta, and then climbs back up to Dr Graham’s Homes, Kalimpong at 1300m. Jolting bends and dizzying drops were interspersed with slowly picking a way through the remains of a landslide. And this was a good road!
Dr Graham’s Homes (DGH), founded in 1900 by a Scottish minister, is a remarkable school that provides education and shelter for some of India’s poorest children. An Indian institution, it also receives sponsorship and fund-raising support from a Scottish charity DGH Kalimpong (UK). Over the years we have funded the secondary education of Sikkimese children at DGH by contributing to the Scottish charity.
The day we arrived we were able to treat the six sixth-form boys currently sponsored by us and the Dutch trust to a meal in Kalimpong. Left to right in the picture: Nitesh, Gyurmee, Sanjay, Tumyang, Sonam and Phurba. Sanjay and Phurba are wearing gifts we brought from their sponsors in UK (you may notice Phurba is a Man City fan – Sanjay’s top is from Greenpeace).
On the following day we pursued the serious side to our visit because these boys are either just about to leave school or enter their final year, so decisions are looming about further studies and what possible career paths they might think of. So we met them individually and some of their teachers.
In the case of Gyrumee (pictured) he is in Year XI. He is in the Science stream, clever and ambitious. He wants to be a doctor, the route for which is via an intensely competitive India wide competition called the NEET, taken after his last year at school. We spoke to him about how he can achieve what he wants. We will take a close interest, and whatever happens feel confident he will have good career options
Return to first post Post 5 Post 7