CAMD Initiates Summer Service Trip to India: Six Students Will Travel With Mr. Mundra

This year PA withdrew from the Swarthrahit program because it conflicted with the new Assessment Period. In lieu of Swarthrahit, CAMD and the Community Service Offices have organized a new, school-funded program in India. Six Phillips Academy students will travel to India this summer to explore Indian culture and work with children in local schools, as part of a three-week service-learning program. Called “Niswarth,” the Hindi equivalent of “non sibi,” the new program will continue to focus on children’s rights. The participants are paired and live with students and faculty from the Udayachal school in Vikhroli, a north-east suburb of Mumbai. Navroze Godrej ’01 and his family will continue to host PA students as they have in the past. CAMD classifies the Niswarth trip as a “service-learning program.” As such, students will not only work with a partner toward a common goal, but they will also study the high instances of poverty and homelessness in urban areas in India. Students will work closely with one organization, “Railway Children.” This group provides aid to children who live in and around railroad stations. Participants are expected to work as teacher’s assistants and help improve orphanages and other homes for children. Students will fulfill the learning component of the program through examination of the United Nations’ “Convention on the Rights of the Child,” the Indian government’s legislation on child rights, interviewing local justices, politicians and the police force, and maintaining a journal. Previously, PA students collaborated on the India project with students from two schools in India, Udayachal School and the Diamond Jubilee High School for Boys and Girls, as well as from a school in Germany, Salem International College. Students studied children’s rights and worked with a variety of non-governmental organizations (N.G.O.’s) to learn about this issue. Students participated in many projects, such as creating fliers in Hindi and English to inform children of “Child Line,” a telephone line through which people can contact a social worker to receive aid. Mr. Mundra related this service-learning idea back to a famous adage: “Goodness without knowledge is weak and feeble, yet knowledge without goodness is dangerous. [People need to] be good and also understand.”