Wimbledon College is launching a 'Pound for Pannur' campaign, following serious flooding in the state of Karnataka in India. Their aim is to raise a pound from every pupil - and to expand the appeal to their parents and friends outside the college. The Jesuit comprehensive boys' school in south west London has been supporting Pannur Mission in this poor rural region of Southern India since 2002. Meanwhile, JM (Jesuit Missions) has set up a designated link for donations.
Writing to the school, Fr Maxim Rasquinha SJ, the Superior at Pannur, said the Mission was facing one of its worst disasters due to floods in the past 40 years.
"Intermittent rains over the last four days have resulted in floods bringing the waters to (a depth of) 15 feet in the church campus, practically drowning the church," he wrote.
"The surrounding houses have been damaged beyond repairs and some of them have totally collapsed. In all 212 houses in Pannur itself have been heavily damaged and people are mostly on the road side and camped in our dispensary at a higher level. The worst experience when you are surrounded by water is the danger of snakes. Already five people have been bitten by cobras and one person is seriously ill."
Jesuits working in the village of Pannur and surrounding hamlets have sought to empower the people of the downtrodden Dalit caste; the so called 'untouchables' of Indian society. Their work has concentrated on raising the status of women through the establishment of women's groups and credit unions; and the building of a school for bonded labourers and children condemned to a life in the fields as goatherds and cowherds. The Wimbledon College project centres on providing education for Dalit children in Manvi www.projectmanvi.co.uk .
For the past five years students and teachers from the college have travelled to India to spend a month working on the project and in particular building a primary school. £125,000 has been raised towards the building costs of the primary school.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to help those affected by the flooding in Manvi can use the "Justgiving" Page set up by JM for donations to the emergency appeal. Not only is it a secure way of donating: JM can also claim back tax via gift aid. The link is: www.justgiving.com/Emergencyappealforfloodinginmanvi