Isabelle Davies, 18 knew her trip to the Tamil Nandu region of India would change her. However, she did not expect it to have such an emotional effect on the locals.
Isabelle spent 2 weeks building the foundations to a chapel extension with around 30 other students from Overton Grange School. This chapel was created specifically for a deaf school and its 450 pupils.
The project was organised by Tearfund, a development charity which collaborates with Christian agencies worldwide to tackle issues connected with poverty.
Isabelle’s £220 Jack Petchey grant helped fund her place on the project, which she says was ‘physically very hard…we all worked well as a team, taking it in turns and making sure everyone had a suitable amount of water breaks’. The project was a great way for the sixth form students to demonstrate and develop their management skills, as they rotated their leaders every day to allocate tasks.
The locals were the ones who truly benefited. 'When we visited an elderly orphaned day home I met a woman there who burst into tears in front of me. She stroked my face, blessed me and gave me a big hug,” says Isabelle. “This memory is one that will stay with me for the rest of my life. This small frail woman had been through so much pain and suffering in her life and yet I saw such hope and joy in her eyes at seeing us all there.'
Isabelle from Sutton, Surrey has since returned from the Tirunelveli district and says that she ‘now know[s] what is important in life’.
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