SCHOOLS ROUND-UP HEAL found itself in the news during August with the visit of Mrs Sweta Rawat, the chairperson of The Hans Foundation, to Paradise Village at Thotapalli village. Newspaper articles reported that Mrs Rawat was very impressed with the HEAL flagship project and the children of Paradise and sent a mail to this effect to Hans CEO Gen.Mehta. She was shown around the newly-completed Rajeswari Girls Dorm which was funded, along with the Boys Dorm, by The Hans Foundation. Mrs Rawat was also able to see the latest developments, including the Skills Development Centre which now has vocational training courses running and a smart new computer lab for up to 40 students. In the main school, Mrs Rawat took a particular interest in the science laboratories and took part in an inauguration ceremony for the new chemistry lab. It has been a busy start to the new school year with an influx of almost 200 new students and a number of developments on site, including the completion of the preschool and primary school complex, new roads and the installation of a play area in the grounds. Teams of children have been demonstrating green fingers by taking part in a supervised ‘aaga’ composting initiative in which kitchen waste is used to feed the many fruit-bearing plants around the Village. *** STAFF and children at the Children’s Village, Guntur, were saddened to hear of the passing away of HEAL supporter and child sponsor William Smethurst. He and wife Carolynne were described as “pillars of support and love” by administrator Mrs Marudwathi. In a letter to Carolynne, she said: “The children very fondly remember William. We couldn’t digest the news that William, the most caring and beloved uncle of all HEAL children, is no more. “You have been always a great inspiration for us to work for the needy children with more commitment. We always remember the joyful and precious moments the children had when you visited us. “When I shared the sad news of William’s demise all the children were shocked and their eyes were full of tears. We feel proud that you took all of us as your own family members and although William is not physically with us he is always alive in our hearts.” The children took part in a special prayer meet at the time of William’s funeral in which they paid homage to their “beloved uncle”. *** HEAL’S Poverty Trap scheme was given a boost during the summer months when student Sunitha Pattapagalu was shortlisted for admission into a six-year Integrated B.Tech Course at the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies. Sunitha, a product of the Poverty Trap programme from ASNRA ZPH School, Kanuru, was invited along to pre-admission counselling at the University’s Nuzvid campus in the Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh, where students are promised “an intensive learning programme and a fruitful learning time leading to a bright career”. She achieved top marks among all villages in Penamaluru Mandal with a remarkable 9.8 grade out of 10 in her SSC (class 10) examinations. Sunitha’s outstanding success was recognised by The Lion Club, who presented her with a cash prize at a special ceremony attended by Mrs Bhavani, a member of the HEAL India education committee. Congratulating Sunitha on her achievement, HEAL’s head of communications Jem King said: “It is important for HEAL to shout about such success stories like Sunitha’s from the rooftops so that potential sponsors realise that we support our children throughout their education. “HEAL’s Poverty Trap project is growing and taking in more schools than ever before, while residential student numbers are also rising rapidly at Paradise Village. “But, in the years ahead, it will become increasingly important to obtain sponsorship for those children who go on to enter further education because they will be empowered to make a huge difference in their communities.” *** CHILDREN and staff of Bhadrachalam School, Telangana, took part in the annual Independence Day celebrations on August 15. Prize-giving and a flag-raising ceremony were among the highlights of the day.