Chris Mann

10 October 2010

I first became involved in Udayan at its first fundraising event at St Joan’s, Light Music and Eats 2004, whilst running the school’s technical support team. Further down the line I became more involved with other assemblies and events related to Udayan. On hearing Mrs Weldon talking so passionately about the work of the home I became hooked on Udayan. Whilst in the Sixth Form I was Deputy Head Boy and encouraged the senior prefect team to play an active role in organising the Sixth Form Charity Week in 2006. The team proposed to the school council that St Joan’s should make Udayan a whole school charity, and this was adopted in 2007.

It was in 2007 that I was privileged to be on the second trip to Udayan along with seven other sixth formers, Miss Devlin, Mrs Weldon and Kathryn Spink. We had a great time whilst in India but at the same time witnessed some very moving scenes which really made me appreciate how lucky we are. The time at Udayan went very quickly, and I have many fond memories of the children.

Upon leaving St Joan’s in 2007, Mrs Weldon asked if I would become the Friends of Udayan Secretary, and having been truly touched by the visit and the children, I immediately accepted the role. Being the secretary has allowed me to stay in touch with the progress Udayan is making and how St Joan’s funds are spent.

Having just finished a degree in accounting and finance at the University of Kent in the summer of 2010 I recognised what a great opportunity it would be to return to India. It will be wonderful to visit Udayan again and see the progress that has been made in the past four years, as well as to spend many more hours with the children both in class and during their recreation time. We are also looking to capture lots of video footage of the children to provide material for our forthcoming Udayan events and on our websites: www.friendsofudayan.co.uk and www.joa-udayan.co.uk.

When we return, I look forward to sharing my experiences of the trip and of Udayan with those who have previously been there, with friends, family, and in presentations and assemblies with Mrs Weldon as we continue to raise awareness of Udayan and its needs.