Over 200 students from four IELC high schools gathered for 2013 ndoto.India conference in Ambur, Tamil Nadu,. The ALEA US$3,000 grant fully funded the costs of the India conference including lunch for all attendees, conference hall, AV rentals and operator, banners and more. Principals Franklin Desai and Jabus Chandra Segaran provided local coordination and hosting.
Three distinguished guest speakers from Tamil Nadu headlined the one-day event with informative and motivational presentations. 20 HKIS students facilitated 5 small group “activities” for experiential learning around the themes: creativity, innovation and change. Another guest (fellow Kodaikanal International School alum), Rohit Pothukuchi also spoke about his work founding Verdentum – a Global Concerns Initiative linking schools from the developed world with the developing world through on-line dialog and mutual projects. (see http://www.verdentum.org/about/about.html).
HKIS, Head of School, Kevin Dunning represented both HKIS and ALEA during the conference by speaking and also presenting the scholarship collected through ALEA to Sagunthi, the student whose foot was injured a few years ago. She attended the conference along with her father.
ALEA was frequently highlighted during the conference as the event sponsor, giving the local Lutheran students and teachers a profound sense of partnership in Lutheran education throughout Asia.
Student leaders, Karen Lee and Anna Zhou also spoke about how the India conference was linked to their remarkable work organizing ndoto.Hong Kong held on February 23 at HKIS (see http://www.ndotoconference.org/). In fact, two HKIS students (Karen Lee and Alise Chen) served as MC’s while an Ambur Student (Annie) provided Tamil translation, giving all attendees a profound example of student leadership and initiative.
One highlight was a presentation by students from Concordia Higher Secondary School – Ambur who reported on their Youth Empowerment Club activities from the past school year. Inspired by the HKIS 2012 empowerment training and using the US$750 seed money from ALEA, stories were shared about their successful effort to rescue 14 students from child labor in July. And they shared how valuable their health and dental hygiene clinics were among poor local villages. Finally, their plans for ’13-’14 gave evidence that “service learning” has truly ignited this school of 1300 students to become a transformative agent of change in their communities. Pernambut School reported similar activities and accomplishments using the other US$750 from ALEA (total ALEA 2012 grant: US$1,500).
Church of All Nations (HK) has provided the Empowerment Club seed grant for school year 2013-2014 (US$2,000 total: US$500 per school). This grant was also presented at the conference to each school Principal along with the challenge to “multiple” the grant, by referring to Jesus’ parables of the talents and the seeds planted in good soil.
On Monday through Thursday of the subsequent week, the group of 20 HKIS students led follow-up sessions in each of the four schools with leadership training, action planning and club mobilization. It was a rewarding experience to see the seeds of service growing into fruitful trees in the Ambur District of the IELC.
Along with ‘empowerment’ training, the HKIS group brought 40 new laptops provided by One Laptop Per Child (see http://one.laptop.org/) and then trained over 50 students in 6 hours of computer lessons. The students also donated several bags of school supplies, computer monitors, clothing and additional funds for area schools. A large portion of the US$4,000 cash donation (funds from HKIS families and fundraisers) will help complete a new science lab for Concordia High School in Pernambut.
May Christ be praised for this dynamic and fruitful partnership between ALEA, HKIS, Church of All Nations, LCMS World Mission and the IELC.
Reported by Bill Leese