Our Global Partnership Program to Chandigarh

Our Education / Paula Bacchiella
When three educational leaders met at the EREBB Congress in Kolkata in 2016, the spark for a three way global partnership was born.

The idea of partnership is at the heart of EREA's approach to global engagement.
Edmund Rice College (Bindoon), St John's (South Africa) and St John's (India) have begun a relationship that focuses on youth leadership development, sharing of faith and reaching out to those on the margins of society. In 2018, students travelled to Bindoon and were hosted by Edmund Rice College. This year they travelled to India and next year they will be hosted by St John's in Cape Town, around the same time as the EREBB Congress.

Moordjitj Gnulla  … ‘Stronger Together’

“There’s something that I believe very strongly today is the emerging spirituality is reminding us time again that we are connected. In fact, not only are we connected, we are one. We are one. The stranger is my brother I haven’t met. We are one.”

– Br Philip Pinto 

2016’s EREBB Congress in India was a huge gift to us all and one that keeps giving. It allowed for friendships to develop and relationships to be established that have helped build links and understanding between schools in many countries. At the Congress I meet two amazing principals, Mam Kavita from India and Ms Sharon Van Vuren from South Africa. Together we have built a strong partnership between our schools through the Global Leadership Immersion. Last year students from each school all met here at Edmund Rice College Bindoon. This year we met in India and next year the students will gather in South Africa. The melting pot of our three cultures coming together has opened up our students’ eyes and hearts. Our children have been deeply touched by the global integration of Edmund’s values and philosophy. This was evident in their conversations, reflections, prayers, rituals and icons around the College.  

We were very blessed as Br Pinto greeted us on our arrival in India and our students had the privilege of spending time with this most wonderful, kind, spiritual man. 

Our Global Immersion to St John’s College Chandigarh

Students had a range of experiences at St John’s Chandigarh - visiting and engaging in various classroom activities, learning sign language, spending time at the School for the Blind, participating in a Water Awareness March, visiting an amazing park made from all recycled materials, listening to the “All Indian Debate” and decorating a table runner using traditional Indian block art – just to mention a few! 

We were fortunate to be at the College for its annual Just Fair. Each St John’s class is connected to outreach programs and to students from less privileged backgrounds or who are differently abled. The College works with these students on a weekly basis and every year it holds a Just Fair. The mums, students and staff cook food and set up games. It was an amazing day and all the students have lots of fun.

One evening we visited a Hindu Temple. This was a very moving and spiritual experience. The students were deeply engaged, taking in the deep sense of spirituality present. The Temple staff prepare food and feed thousands of people every day. They run free buses to the Temple and send out food vans all over the city. It is an incredible organisation.

In the afternoons, Br Len who was hosting us at the Christian Brothers’ house, took us to the local markets and shops. Mingling in Indian markets is an experience that cannot be missed! Your senses are overloaded with smells, colours and noise!

The St John’s Old Boys Association also welcomed us warmly and treated us to a lovely night out. They had planned different types of ‘icebreaker’ games for the students and put on an amazing Indian feast.

The students of St John’s are unbelievably talented and on our last night we were entertained by the school rock band – the second best school band in India!

Throughout our visit, the students and dedicated staff involved touched my heart deeply and I loved every second of our time together. The gift of their presence, time and love was the most wonderful thing our students and I received. 

Each person has been touched deeply and the memories of this experience will live on for a lifetime. It has opened the world to our students and for that I cannot thank everyone who has been involved enough.  The pure joy has been delightful and mesmerising to witness.

– Paula Bacchiella, Deputy Principal, Edmund Rice College Bindoon