British teacher campaigns to raise funds for Darjeeling school

By Prasun Sonwalkar, IANS

London : A retired teacher from Middlesbrough in north England has launched a campaign to raise 50,000 pounds (about $99,000) to help a school she set up in Darjeeling in India’s West Bengal state.

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Helen Jones, the retired teacher from Stokesley, opened the Roseberry Nursery School in Darjeeling in 2007. She devoted her energies to setting up the school after seeing children walking miles to the nearest school when she was on a holiday to India.

After creating the charity School Aid India and fundraising on Teesside, she was able to set up the school for 15 pupils in a small rented building. But now Jones, 65, has launched a bid to raise 50,000 pounds to buy land in Darjeeling and build a school for 100 pupils.

She told the local media in Middlesbrough that buying the land would be the only way to safeguard the long-term future of the school.

Jones said: “We were phenomenally successful last year. There was massive public support. From the strength of that we realised it was worth continuing. We’ve just launched this appeal, which is quite bold when you think where we were last year.

“We hope to raise 50,000 pounds in four years. We are hoping to get land and build our own purpose-built school.”

She is hoping to attract sponsorship from businesses in the region. All donations to the charity go directly to fund the school’s work in India. Jones said she was keen to do presentations for groups on her work in India.

(Prasun Sonwalkar can be contacted at [email protected])