Jas Mundy, Commercial and Logistics Support Manager in Rugby, is off on a sabbatical to volunteer at a very special school in India. The school was initiated by his brother, Gilly Mundy, who was an inspirational campaigner against racial injustice in the UK.
Gilly tragically died aged 36, but not before he had set the wheels in motion to set up a community school in his wife’s village in Northern India. Jas is going out there for a few months to help on a number of projects helping to improve academic development and support school management. We look forward to his updates!
Here is the background to Gilly’s story in Jas’s words: On Christmas Eve 2005 my younger brother, Gurpreet Singh Mundy (always known as Gilly Mundy) married Debbie Quargnalo in the village of Buwan Kothi in Northern India. During the celebrations the many family and friends who had flown in for the wedding decided to form a charitable trust with an aim of building a primary school at some point in the future as a way of repaying the hospitality they had received from the village during their stay.
On 17th March 2007 aged only 36, Gilly Mundy passed away suddenly … As a campaigner and activist Gilly acheived a great deal in his relatively short time and touched the lives of many. To find out more about my bro, you can read his obituary which appeared in the Guardian Newspaper.
Ironically on the day of Gilly’s funeral we received the Charities Commission letter officially recognising the Buwan Kothi International Trust. Almost immediately my father, Mota Singh, began planning purchase of land to build a school in memory of Gilly. Construction work was completed in March 2008, with a formal ceremony to inaugurate the primary-level Community School on 17 March, the first anniversary of Gilly’s death. At the start of April 2008 the first 100 children had enrolled and by the end of the school year there were 200 pupils.
Today the school is co-ed and run on a completely not for profit basis. There are 635 students from 32 villages ranging from 3-17 years old. The school’s mission is to target 25% of pupils from unprivileged backgrounds. The school also rejects discrimination on the basis of class, caste, religion or gender. It has adopted a different approach from other schools – it believes in developing a child-centred educational programme not always available to rural parts of India, as well as more artistic and creative activities. It has one of the largest playing fields in the area. In 2014 the school had solar panels installed which provide free electricity for most of the year.