During the October half-term, a group of eight Oundle School Sixth formers travelled to Thailand to work with disabled children and their families under the guidance of the Christian Care Foundation for Children with Disabilities (CCD) in Thailand.
Founded in 1986, CCD oversees a variety of projects to help local children and young adults with disabilities in Nonthaburi, north of Bangkok. The organisation runs four day care centres aimed at providing care for children from government care homes for disabled children. CCD also oversees Rainbow House, providing residential care and physical therapy to disabled children to give them a chance to live somewhat independently in group housing owned by CCD. The organisation works directly with families of disabled children through community-based rehabilitation (CBR) centres to raise awareness of disabled children, create parent support groups, and to teach their families to provide physical therapy for their children.
Oundle pupils spent several days working with the children alongside CCD staff and paid a visit to Baan Rajawadee Girls Home, run by the Thai government. They also visited one of the community-based rehab centres to experience life in rural Thailand.
Matilda Joseph (16) reflected, “Our comfortable lives can never prepare you enough for moments like these - such unfamiliar places and people who have such difficult lives, yet that’s all they know…. Admittedly at first I was more reserved, but as I gradually eased into the activities, I got stuck in and ended up having a really good time.”
At Rainbow House, Oundle pupils played games and made art projects with the children.
Shaan Diu (18) commented, “After lunch we played a game of football with the older boys which was very competitive. I found their ability and skills incredible - all of them embraced the game fearlessly and were determined to win. It was interesting to see how the children played with the toys and how they were given the opportunity to really be children… It was the simpler things which they enjoyed most.”
The work with Rainbow House and CCD culminated with an outing for approximately twenty children on the Skytrain, Bangkok’s elevated subway, a remarkable event to help raise disability awareness and give the children an exciting new experience.
In addition to charity work, the ten-day trip also included a visit to the beach town of Pattaya and a tour of Vajiravudh College and Harrow International-Bangkok. Pupils took a local Thai cooking class and visited a local market, where they tried their hand at traditional Thai dishes and tasted some unusual local fruit. Finally, they learned about Thai history at Wat Pho temple, the Jim Thompson House, and the ancient capital city of Ayutthaya.
Prior to the trip, pupils organised a fundraiser for Rainbow House and CCD and returned with packs of Christmas cards designed by the children at Rainbow House to sell and continue to raise money to support this life-changing work.
Background Information on Oundle School
Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.
The School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876, the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2016, the School completed its ambitious SciTec project, uniting Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. The development includes the ground-breaking Patrick Engineering Centre, a new Mathematics department and an extension to its sixteen state-of-the-art Science laboratories. Oundle has now embarked on a detailed Sports MasterPlan which will significantly upgrade sporting facilities across the School by 2020, incorporating the building of a new Sports Centre housing a fifty metre swimming pool and an eight court sports hall.
There are currently 1110 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 860 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day school for children aged 4 to 11.