“Most foreigners get impressed by the English the children speak and the way they ask intriguing questions”

It was quite a sight at Velli Veethiyar Corporation Girls Higher Secondary School at Ponnagaram here on Wednesday when around 25 people from various foreign countries rolled up their sleeves and started colour-washing one of the school buildings.

The volunteers did not use the event as a photo op — they avoided media glare and refused to speak to journalists. Stating that their aim was to serve the schoolchildren in whatever way they could, the foreigners, including women, climbed up sunshades to colour-wash the school building.

Projects Abroad, an organiser of internships and international volunteering, had arranged for their visit. Headmistress P. Meena said 33 foreigners had taken classes for the school children since 2010. But this was the first time that they had ventured into colour-washing the school building.

Claiming that most foreigners got impressed by the English the children spoke and the way they asked intriguing questions on subjects ranging from social studies to science, she recalled that Alice Mudrack from Italy and Rebecca Clifford from the United Kingdom had acknowledged it in writing.

Even on Wednesday, students of Classes VII and VIII quizzed the foreigners on nuclear proliferation, deforestation, child labour, teaching methodology in their countries, satellite stations and so on, says T. Arumugasami, a teacher of the school.

R. Ilango, former vice-principal of Vivekananda College, who had been voluntarily taking English and value education classes for the school students after his retirement, said frequent interaction with foreigners helped the students get a better perspective about the world they lived in.