All Images © Francesca Moore
Whilst at Navdanya we met Meegan, who had recently been volunteering at the RISE School, near Pollachi. She said that they could use some pictures for their website, and that it was stunningly beautiful down there, so if we could fit it in we should go and visit.
The school was set up by The RISE Foundation, a non-profit organization with a mission to increase educational opportunities for children in rural India, to give them the same opportunities as city children.
With a few vague directions we realised that the school, in the small village of Thimmanguthu, wouldn’t be too far off our planned route South so we made the arrangement to go and be picked up in Pollachi.
Thimmanguthu was by far the most remote place we had visited in India, perhaps this shouldn’t have been a surprise after the claim of ‘stunning beauty’. The school was nested amongst miles and miles of coconut groves, and was a good 40-minute drive to the nearest community where we could buy the most basic things, such as food. Had we known this, we would have arrived a little more prepared!
We were hosted in a lovely house on the school grounds, which in itself was isolated on the top of the hill. At the end of the school day all the teachers and students left, except the head mistress and the groundsman, who soon became our favoured supplier of coconuts!
We had a great time hanging out with the children, who loved Lorenza’s innovative sign language for names of fruits, and had a great bring-and-share lunch with the teachers, who said that the pasta pomodoro – with just a little more masala, and a few extra chillies – would have been just perfect! I preferred the Dal anyhow.
These shots show the students at work and play, and will soon feature on the new website and printed marketing materials.
Plus there’s a silly snapshot of us at the house with watermelon smiles.