Students at St Mary's are keen to be involved in their communities and to give their support to charities.
Several thousand pounds in donations are raised every year by St Mary's families. Fundraising activities are student-led, by members of the Charities Committees and the Senior School Charities Co-ordinator. Lower and Senior School students choose a charity to support each academic year - these are proposed and voted for by the students themselves and are often causes close to the students' hearts. The school also energetically supports national fundraising initiatives, including Jeans for Genes Day, Children in Need and Red Nose Day. International charities are also supported - the school takes an active part in the Mary's Meals' Backpack Project, the Samaritans Purse Shoebox Appeal and the Toilet Twinning scheme, and recently collected more than 70 pairs of old spectacles to be delivered to disadvantaged communities in the Philippines through a local church partnership. Locally, the school is a long-standing supporter of St Helena Hospice and Bernard Brett House, and has recently made donations to the Guest House Project, a winter initiative providing hot meals and overnight accommodation for homeless people in Colchester.
Annual charities 2017-18
Senior School students chose to focus their fundraising efforts on benefiting Lepra, a Colchester-based international charity working to beat leprosy. Lower School pupils chose to support Diabetes UK.
Since 2006, St Mary’s has supported the Naz Care Home in Delhi, India, which provides a home for 30 children from all over India who are HIV positive and have no-one else to support them.
Our connection began when a fomer singing teacher took a holiday to India and visited the care home. He was so impressed by the home that when he returned to school he staged a concert to raise funds. St Mary's Head of Music, Mr Hammersley, then took a trip to India himself and personally donated the money, on behalf of the school. The proceeds of every carol service since have been donated to the Naz Care Home.
Following another visit in 2010, Mr Hammersley suggested that St Mary’s should formally sponsor one of the children there. The Care Home chose Sahil, a boy who has been at the home since he was six months old. He came from Udaipur, in Rajasthan, weighing only 7lbs, having been abandoned in a basket.
Now 10 years old, Sahil passed the second grade scoring 72%. He is studying in Class 3 at Central Public School, East of Kailash. This is an English Medium Junior School in South Delhi located at C Block, East of Kailash.
He commenced a new academic year in June 2017. Early in the year, his school and tuition teachers had complained about his lack of interest in studies and mood swings but he has improved in the past three months.
Sahil is bit naughty and needs a lot of push for his studies. The children get additional tuition by paid tutors which helps them to do better in their academics. Sahil loves music and is learning to play the harmonium at the Uma Sharma Music Institute at Sant Nagar.
Sahil has participated in school level competitions, both cultural and sports, and won many prizes. He takes part in the yoga sessions enthusiastically.
Sahil is healthy and his CD4 count is normal too. All the children are provided care by the Care Home Doctor besides their regular visits to Anti Retro Viral Therapy (ART) Centre at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
The summer Cabaret Evening, a joint event run by the Music and Drama departments, raises money each year for charity and last year more than £1000 was raised through the efforts and participation of students, their parents and staff, and these funds have been used to enable us to continue to sponsor Sahil.