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Sunday 22 April 2018

Video: ‘It was a place full of poverty in its rawest form’ – students’ eyes opened by visit to poorest parts of India

IT was a world away from the suburbs of Dublin but a group of students had their eyes opened when they visited some of the poorest parts of India as part of a transition-year trip.

Among the many amazing sights the boys from Blackrock College came across was Howrah dump, a vast tip containing piles of the city’s unsorted and untreated rubbish, from which hundreds of children scavenge to eke out a living.

Student Daniel Dunleavy said: “It consisted of a virtual mountain range of rubbish; black, slimy water, flies and what seemed like hundreds of pigs. It was a place full of poverty in its rawest form. And it was a place where hundreds of children spent every day of their lives.”

Another boy Ross Finnegan said: “Yet despite that incredible poverty, the spirit and optimism of the children living in Howrah was inspirational. We are still trying to come to terms with what we saw and experienced – it was life-changing.”

The group of TY students from Blackrock College travelled to India to visit some of the programmes run by GOAL in particularly poor parts of Kolkata. The trip was part of an ongoing relationship the school has with GOAL, having raised money for the organisation through the St Patrick’s Day Badge campaign for the last 25 years.

During their stay, the boys visited a centre for disadvantaged children, a rehabilitation centre for kids with orthopaedic conditions and one of the city’s infamous brick factories, where many children work.

The GOAL/Aidlink St Patrick’s Day Badge campaign is run and managed entirely by Transition Year Students in Blackrock College. Since the project began, over €2 million has been raised for GOAL and Aidlink programmes in the Developing World.

The badges – which cost €2 – will be on sale from now until St Patrick’s Day on streets and in shops and newsagents throughout the country. For more information, contact Maurice Buckley, head of Publicity for the St Patrick’s Day badge campaign on: mauricebuckley@hotmail.com

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