It was quite a sight at Velli Veethiyar Corporation Girls Higher Secondary School at Ponnagaram here on Wednesday when around 25 foreign nationals from various 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 school children in whatever way they can, the foreigners, including women, climbed up sunshades to colourwash the school building.
Projects Abroad, an organiser of internships and international volunteering, had arranged for the 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 colourwash the school building.
Claiming that most foreigners get impressed by the English the children speak and the way they ask 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 class 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 school teacher .
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, says frequent interaction with foreigners helps the students in getting a better perspective about the world they live in.
“Most foreigners get impressed by the English the children speak and the way they ask intriguing questions”