Archive for the 'India' Category

My life in Devala

Friday, September 26th, 2014

My name is Kousalya and I am from Devala area. I live in Valavayal Village. I am studying in 9th Standard at Holy Cross Convent Matriculation School, Devala. My tribe’s name is ‘Paniya’. Many, many years ago my grand parents and great grandparents lived in my village too. Our village people are very kind people, they have a mind of helping everyone.

In my village live many children. Usually during the holidays they play together. In my village there is one small pond. During the holiday, children usually play in the pond and catch fish. We also bathe, wash clothes etc. there.


Near our village there is a forest, sometimes elephants come to our village to eat bananas where we have planted banana plants. At night when the elephants come, our village people get fearful.


In the Paniya tribe, we pray to God Kuliyan. We dance to the god during March and April. In these months people come to our village from nearby Paniya villages to pray to Kuliyan God and dance with us.  Our Paniya dances are called Mari Kali and Thaya Kali. Music is also played the Pullicheenam (a small wind instrument) and Thudi (type of drum). Only boys and men play this instrument.

In my home there is my mother, Seetha, my sister Gowri and myself. My moher goes to work to look after my sister and me. My sister Gowri is studying nursing (2nd year) in Ashwini hospital. I like my school and my

family and my friends.

My aim is to become a doctor. I like science subjects very much because I love my science teacher, Ms Sindhu.

My hobbies are playing, drawing, dancing, chatting with my friends. My friend Rinsha lives in Kerala, I love her very much and I miss her.

When I finish my studies and get a good job I am to look after my mother well.

I am very proud to share about my village, friends and family. Thankyou friends!


By, Kousalya.


Hello Park School!

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Dear Park School,

Thank you for your blogs – they are very interesting reading! We are on our schools holidays which is why we have not been blogging every week. But to answer some of your questions:

Our school has 83 students this year.  We do Maths, English, Tamil, Social studies, Science .We also have one hour craft and one hour games everyday.

We learn songs from different languages. We get lot of time for extra activities like  drama,dance .

We have sports day in our school. Everyone participates in some game or the other. No prizes are given. Our sports day is for enjoying and we have great fun.

We call our teachers Aunty or teacher with their names and sir or Anna ( older brother).

We have no uniforms in our school. We can wear any color dress. The school looks colorful. We bring lunch from home. We carry food in steel boxes. At 10.15 we get a break where our Kalyani akka gives us Ragi Poridge – a health drink. We come to school at nine in the morning and leave at 4 in the evening.

The 8th and 10th class children stay in the school to do extra studies few weeks before the exams. They study together in the evenings and early mornings. Teachers take turns to help them.

The class 5 to class 10 students and the teachers went to Mysore for a day in April. Mysore is 110 kms from Gudalur. We hired buses to take us. We stayed in the school the previous day and left early morning from here. We visited the Zoo and the Mysore Maharaja’s  palace. The palace is very big with a museum and a temple. We saw things that the Kings family used long back.

All of us enjoyed the Zoo. Mysore Zoo has lots of animals . We saw Giraffe for the first time. We saw them eating leaves. We got very excited as most of us were seeing a giraffe for the first time. We saw white peacock, crocodile, birds,hippo, snakes.

After the long walk at the Zoo we were very hungry and had lunch at a hotel.

All of us had a good time and we really enjoyed the day. Here are some pictures from our trip:

On the bus to Mysore

At the zoo

With an elephant!

More of us at the zoo

Finally we ended our trip dancing to fast tamil songs on the bus!


Class 9 – Our trip to Ranchi

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Hi Larkrise School - thanks very much for telling us about your food. It was fun to compare and contrast it with ours! And hello to Warden Park School – how great that you celebrated Diwali – the food sounds delicious and the tiger masks looked fantastic. You must know that tigers are our national animal. We feel very privileged to have wild tigers living in our area, though recently a tiger killed a calf in Chembakolli, which means that the owner of the calf has lost a cow that would have provided him with milk in the future. On the other hand, the deer population is kept in check by the tigers, which is good because otherwise they graze on the farmers’ crops. The ways in which humans and wild animals share space is a really interesting topic to discuss.

This week, our blog is coming to you from the students of Class 9, as we wanted to tell you about a trip we made recently. This is us with three other members of the group who went on the trip.

In order, you can see (back row left-right) Tariq (one of our supervisors), Srudilaya, Prasad, Mridul, Priya (one of our teachers), then (front row left-right) Nibuna, Badichi, Vijimol (one of our supervisors) and Nandini. Those of us in Class 9 are aged between 14 and 16.

The group trip we made was to Ranchi (the capital of the state of Jharkhand) in central India, to attend a tribal (adivasi) festival being held by the Central University of Jharkhand. Many of us were travelling on the train for the first time, and for almost everyone it was the longest journey we have made. Ranchi is over 2000 kilometres away from Gudalur – longer than the UK is from one end to the other. The train journey took over 40 hours and there were nearly 90 stops! During the night we slept in berths, and in the day we played cards and chatted. Here’s our train:

39 of us went altogether from Gudalur. As well as the six of us and our supervisors, a lot of tribal people from our community attended the event. Our ages ranged from 14 to 65 and we represented all four tribes from the Nilgiri Hills: Paniya, Bettakurumba, Mullukurumba, Kattunaickan. You can see our whole group below.

We were really excited to arrive in Ranchi and to be staying in the university. This was the sign that greeted us on our arrival. The artwork had been done specially for the festival.

The festival was called Akhra, which refers to the place in  a village where adivasi people meet for cultural and social activities. Thousands of tribal people had come for the event, mainly from across  India but also from some other countries, like Bhutan. The festival lasted for three days. Here you can see the stage used for the event, with some of the delegates in traditional costume:

It was fascinating to see all different kinds of tribal clothing and accessories from around the country, like these beads and footwear from North India:

The festival was a fantastic celebration of tribal culture. There was a lot of delicious food, with specialities like rice cooked in bamboo  leaves, steamed momo dumplings, and butter tea. There were screenings of films made about and by adivasis and also a lot of traditional crafts being demonstrated. We met weavers from Jahrkhand, Assam and Nagaland and they all showed us their different weaving processes and patterns. You can see one type of weaving here:

We also saw a lot of  Adivasi artwork and we really enjoyed a photography exhibition of adivasi life from all over the country. Vidyodaya School had its own exhibition too – a lot of the photos we displayed were ones we had taken of Chembakolli and the forest. One of the best things about the festival was all the singing and dancing that took place. Lots of groups demonstrated their dances and then let everyone join in and learn. You can see some of the dancers below.

Sometimes the dancing lasted long in to the evening! The beat of the drums made everyone want to get involved. (As you can see above, there were some  huge drums, made mostly from animal hides and wood.) We also taught some of our tribal dances to other people at the festival. The Paniya dance was especially popular.

We were really sad when the event came to end, but we were looking forward to coming back to Gudalur and telling everyone at school about what we’d seen and done. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about it, and that you like the photos we took.

Have you had any good school trips recently?

Images: ActionAid/ACCORD/AMS/VBVT 9th Standard


Blog 4 from Beech Hill School

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

Year 3 at Beech Hill School finished our work on India with a fantastic Excellence and Enjoyment Day on Wednesday 17th October.

We all wore non-uniform, with a lot of our children wearing traditional Asian clothes. Our day started with a wonderful session led by Mrs Mustafa, who taught us some traditional Indian dance moves to a piece of Bhangra music. We had great fun!

Dancing to bhangra music!

Next we made some large Rangoli pictures using tissue paper in lovely bright colours.

Making Rangoli pictures

In the afternoon we watched a Bollywood film in Hindi, with English sub-titles and ate a variety of traditional Asian food that the parents of our children had kindly donated.

Watching a Bollywood film

We were also lucky to have another class of children from a different local school come to Beech Hill to join in with our activities. They also had great fun and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

We have really enjoyed our topic work about India and have found this blog to be a great way of communicating with children from Gudalur to enhance our learning.

We wish you all the very best for the future!

Gandhi Jayanti

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

Hi again everyone,

Beech Hill School, your classroom looks really cheerful and colourful - especially the reading corner and the displays. It was great to see Chembakolli there! And hello to Stamford Hill School - we liked hearing about the highlights of your week. A lot of us enjoy swimming too, though we normally swim in rivers rather than in pools, so the water is usually pretty cold! The art project and the performance of Macbeth sound really exciting too – especially if you got to join in the battle scenes! We’ve also been doing some drama this week…

Did you know that October 2nd is a special day in India? It’s the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, who helped lead India to independence in the 1940s, without ever resorting to violence. He believed in freedom for all people and wanted to achieve it through peaceful resistance. He called this ’satyagraha’. Maybe you know about Gandhi, or have seen the film about his life? Sometimes he is referred to as the ‘Father of the Nation’, so you can see why we treat his birthday as a special occasion!

The day is called Gandhi Jayanti, and because it fell during the school week this year, we decided to have a programme of performances in the hall to remember Gandhi, such as songs and short plays. Each class prepared something for the rest of the school to enjoy. In Class 6, we decided to do a drama. This is us below, in our classroom.

In the end, we opted to re-enact the time when Gandhi was travelling in South Africa and was asked to get off the train he was travelling on (with a valid ticket) because the white man in his compartment did not want to sit by someone who was not white. When Gandi refused to leave, he was thrown off with his luggage. Here you can see us rehearsing.

We decided to write the sketch in English, rather than Tamil, so we had to practise a lot, but it went well in the end. Another class performed a drama about the time when Gandhi was a young boy and was in school. An inspector was visiting the school and had come to Gandhi’s lesson, where the class were being tested on spelling. Gandhi’s teacher saw that he had spelled ‘kettle’ incorrectly and encouraged him to copy from the student next to him so that the inspector didn’t see any mistakes. Gandhi refused to change the spelling, because he did not believe in cheating and deception. You can see this scene below.

There were other sketches and speeches about episodes in Gandhi’s life…

…as well as some group songs…

…and, after the performances, we played music and performed some of the tribal dances that are particularly important in our adivasi culture. Then we celebrated Gandhi Jayanti by all eating a sweet called a laddu, and took the afternoon as a holiday!

Are there any famous or important people that you celebrate the lives of in Britain? Look forward to hearing from you.

Images: ActionAid/ACCORD/AMS

The Olympics and Independence Day

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Hello everyone – and especially to Howes Primary School, whose blogs we have been enjoying very much. Last week, our new teacher from the UK arrived. Her name is Jacqui and she’s from London, where the Olympics were held recently. You said that you had been to see the torch relay and the cauldron being lit – it sounded like an exciting way to start the Games. We had some successful competitors representing India in the Olympics – they won medals in Badminton, Boxing, Wrestling and Shooting. In fact, Gagan Narang (who won the bronze medal in the Men’s Air Rifle event) was born in Chennai, which is the capital of our state, Tamil Nadu. Which events did you enjoy the most?

We’ve been back in school since June, but on Wednesday August 15th we didn’t have our usual lessons. That’s because it was Independence Day, which is celebrated all over the country, to remember when India freed itself from British rule. As it’s a public holiday, we did lots of special activities. We started the day by hoisting our flag and then singing songs, including the national anthem. Then some of us made speeches, in Tamil and in English, about the significance of the day to modern India. Below you can see some of us during the ceremony. Many of the girls wear jasmine flowers in their hair on special occasions.

Several of us then performed traditional group dances that we had been rehearsing for the last few days, and the audience applauded loudly! Finally, we played lots of games in the yard, which the teachers organised. We raced to see who could collect the most items and put them in a basket in a short space of time, and to see who could walk fastest with a spoon held in their mouth and a lemon balancing on it! Everyone had a lot of fun.

Here we are celebrating with friends.

Now our term is coming to its end. We will have a week’s break from school and will return on 3rd September. Perhaps that’s a similar time to when you will be coming back to school? We look forward to hearing about your summer holidays and hope the new academic year starts well for you. Bye for now!

Images: ActionAid/ACCORD/AMS


Blog 2 from Roberts Primary School

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Thank you for tell us all about your carpentry work.  Some of our dads are carpenters!

We do some work with wood at our school; this is called DT or Design Technology. Usually the teacher will give us a challenge or a problem and we have to investigate solutions, plan and design and idea and then get making!



We would really like to become a Fair-trade School so last week some of our pupils visited a school near to ours called St. James Primary School, to learn about Fair-trade as they have been learning about Fair-trade for much longer than us. They learnt about some of the things we could change or do to become a Fair-trade School.

We have come up with some ideas to help towards this project:
• Hold coffee mornings – parents and visitors could come and enjoy Fair-trade coffee and biscuits and we could have displays of other Fair-trade products.
• Fair-trade cotton – we could make sure our school shirts are made from Fair-trade cotton.
• Tuck shop – selling Fair-trade snacks and drinks to our pupils.
• Footballs and other sports equipment.
• Fair-trade flowers – at the end of each school year we could give Fair-trade flowers to any teachers who are leaving.


We hope you think these are good suggestions, we think they are. We are aiming to give Fair-trade farmers the money they deserve to help their families drink clean water and have a good education.

If you have any more suggestions to help us become a fair-trade school, please send them to us, we would be extremely grateful for any ideas.

In Roberts Primary school we have lots of fair-trade displays and posters. Some of the displays show all sorts of fair-trade items and the countries that are involved. We did not realise there was so many Fair-trade products from so many different places. We have looked at how far our food travels to get to the shops and markets.

Do you know anything about Fair-trade?

Do you know any farmers or workers who are involved with Fair-trade?

Do you eat Fair-trade food or use Fair-trade things?

Our Topic - INDIA: A land of contrasts

In our school we have been learning about you and your country. We have learned that there are a lot of different climates such as desert, city and rainforest.

We have also learned about the Indian elephant and how fascinating they are.

We have found out about transport and how people in India get about. We would really like to visit India one day and be able to investigate some of the places for ourselves.

We have learned some Bhangra dancing too!! Our teachers have shown us routines on the internet and we have made up some of our own moves. We found that the music is really fast! What other types of music do you listen to? We guess that you will probably like some of the same songs as us!

Bye for now!
Year 6

Blog 1 from Shrewton Primary School, England

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Welcome to Shrewton Primary School who is this half-term’s Spotlight School.  Each week they will be writing a blog and taking pictures to show what life is like at their school. Vaila, ActionAid Schools Team.
School logo                    Shrewton Primary School

“In our school we have four classes: Owl, Kestrel, Eagle and Hawk, and the teachers are miss Webb, miss price, miss deegan, and Mr. fountain.

We have lots of rooms in our school including the library this picture is the library.

School library

There is also the hall, the kitchen, the staff room, the group room ECT.

This is our school kitchen, where the school dinners are cooked; we also get served there as well.

School kitchen

In school we have been learning about your country India, this is a photo of the art that we did before the holidays.

India display

In our hall we have an apparatus that we use in PE.  We also have mats for when we do gymnastics.  At school we have clubs, when we stay after school and play games and do sports like netball, art, dance, football and cooking.”

Independence Day

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

The 15th August 1947 is a red letter day in the history of our country. It is called Independence Day because on that day the British rule over India came to an end.


British people had come to India to trade but they gradually started to rule our country. Gandhiji was the main leader who fought for our freedom. There were other leaders too like Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel, Ambedkar, Sarojini naidu, Raja gopala chari, Subash chandra bose, and Maulana Azad. They fought for our freedom without using violence.

Today, Independence Day is celebrated by the whole nation on the 15th August. On this day, the National flag is hoisted by the Prime Minister over the Red Fort in Delhi. Meanwhile people sing our national song. There are speeches and it is all shown live on television. The army and police march and they give out sweets to the crowds in the streets.

In schools, hospitals and other public places across the country, people hoist flags and sing our national anthem on Independence Day. It is a time for remembering those who died in the fight for independence, and for celebrating people who have contributed to building the Indian nation.

At Vidyodaya we also hoisted the national flag and sang our national anthem, and other important songs. We saluted the flag, the children give speeches, and we were given sweets.


Afterwards we didn’t have any lessons and we were free to chose what we wanted to do. We chose Dance and all of us danced a lot!


By Group 10.

Science Days

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Hello everyone! And thank you Elmwood Junior School for telling us all about your Family Safety Challenge project.

We recently had a visit from Geeta akka, who ran Science days for the 10th Standard class and Learning Centre groups 1, 2 and 3. We didn’t have other classes for 4 days and we had 2 days of Chemistry classes and 2 days of Biology classes with her.

Science Class

On the Chemistry days we did different experiments looking at solutions, pure substances, base and acids.

Science Class

In Biology we looked at different plants growing on the school grounds and we classified them into different groups. We identified similarities and differences between the plants and we looked at pollen cells under the microscope. We also learnt about how the hibiscus reproduces.

The plants we found on the school grounds are listed below. Which of them grow on your school grounds?

  • Hibiscus
  • Lilly
  • Rose
  • Dahlia
  • Nasthurtiums
  • Chammanthi
  • Chendumalli (Marigold)
  • Jasmine
  • The ten o’clock flower
  • Nishaghandi (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)
  • Nithya Kalyani (Periwinkle)
  • Croton
  • Pumpkin
  • Thulasi (Holy basil)
  • Lantana
  • Guava tree

“These Science days were very useful. What we learnt will be useful for our higher studies.”


“We had already learnt many of these things but it was good revision and we understood better this time.”

“The Science days were not boring. Geeta acca is a very good teacher and she made it very interesting.”

Let us know if you have similar plants growing in your school grounds.

Bye for now.

LC1, LC2, LC3, Standard 10.