Private school in Gloucestershire welcomes boys from slums of Mumbai

A pupil from Beaudesert Park School (right) painting with one of the visitors from Mumbai Credit: ITV West Country

Children from the slums of Mumbai have had a two-week trip they will never forget, spending time at one of Gloucestershire’s top private schools.

The group of 14 boys have been given the chance to visit Beaudesert Park School, which counts royalty among its former students, as part of a football, culture and education tour.

The trip was organised by a local woman after volunteering in the Indian city, aiming to give underprivileged children a chance to be lifted out of poverty and visit leafy Gloucestershire.

During their stay at the school, the boys joined in on classes and even took part in a game of football.

“The joy they have brought to their families is immeasurable,” said Lucinda Sowerbutts, who was working for the OSCAR Foundation in Mumbai when she had the idea for the trip.

“Most of them come from families with no passports, so they are the first members of their families to go on a plane.

“Just like our children over here they are happy vibrant children with loving families. They just want to meet new friends try new foods, play football against other teams and experience cold weather.

Most children in Mumbai work to feed their extended families, and if they get the chance to go to school, it is normally in a class of 90, so the trip to a school where fees can top £7,000 a term have given a completely different experience.

“It is certainly an experience for both of us,” said Beaudesert Park pupil Dan, “but its great that we can mix with people who might not have as many good experiences as we have in England."

Credit: ITV West Country

Ashok Rathod from the OSCAR Foundation said that the trip was having a positive impact on the boys’ attitude, and that “education can change their lives”.

He said: “In the future, they want to live like this, they need to work hard and focus. They are beginning to realise this.”

Some of the pupils have said they would like to return one day, while others have said that they will take what they have learned and will use it to make a better life in India.

Either way it is a memorable trip to a whole new world.