11 February 2009

This morning, we first travelled to Titagarh, a hospital and rehabilitation centre for people suffering from or affected by leprosy. We met one of the Brothers of the Missionaries of Charity who took us on a tour through the wards and the medical units. We also walked through the workrooms where the cloth for the Sisters is spun. It was very impressive as this centre is the only place where the cloth is produced and all of it was handmade. We also found it really encouraging as the people who work there are recovering or have recovered from leprosy, giving them a hugely improved standard of living. We also were lucky enough to meet the parents of one of the girls at Udayan, which reminded us of the how vital Udayan is in changing the lives of so many families.

As we drove through the gates of Udayan, we were immediately greeted by the younger students who had gathered to say hello. James Stevens then showed us round the building and the grounds.

We saw the children in lessons reciting what they had learned which was really impressive. During our tour round the many buildings at Udayan, we were so thrilled to see how all of the money raised had benefited the children. The bunk beds in the boys’ dormitories in particular had the labels which showed the different tutor groups from St Joan’s who donated money a couple of years ago. It was fantastic to see how well provided for the children are, especially considering that without the help and support of Udayan, they would have nothing.

As we walked back round to the main building, we were formally greeted with garlands and petals, presented to us by the children. It put a massive smile on our face as we literally had to bend down to enable the children to put the garlands around our necks. Then we were invited to sit in the hall with the children as we all ate lunch. The staff provided us with a gourmet meal followed by lovely Darjeeling tea.

In the afternoon, we were entertained by some of the younger boys with a game of “kubodi”. It was extremely amusing to watch and they are very talented!! Then we presented the children with the teddy bears we had brought from England. James decided that this year the youngest children would receive them. They all filed out and sat in front of us in lines, extremely well behaved, and completely unaware of what was about to happen. As they walked up to us, they smiled with delight as they realised what was happening and took their teddies gladly. Each child sat down and played with their teddy immediately, cuddling them, showing how precious they would be to them.

Sadly, it was then time to make our way back to Kolkata. The children once again were assembled by the bus, to give us a lovely farewell. We are all now extremely excited to go back, having experienced their welcome and love for a day. We can’t express how special a place Udayan is – it truly is life-changing.

We apologise for the disruption to the website today (11/02/2009). This was due to heavy traffic due on the site. All has been resolved and the usual service resumed.


Mrs Palmer

@ 3691 days ago

What lovely pictures of the children with their teddy bears, I just want to take them all home with me x

Hannah Aylward

@ 3691 days ago

The photo of jen kat and emma is so lovley, the kids look so happy for you to be there!
you all look like your having a great time and im soo jealous!!

Take care guys

Roberta Boxshall

@ 3687 days ago

This is what it’s all about. Wonderfully inspiring! Aren’t the children beautiful?.....you young adult children too of course! Love you all x x x

Tricia Gibb

@ 3675 days ago

Just caught up with your diary and the photos of the children at Udayan. Good to see the children’s happy faces – I knew the teddies would find good homes there!