“Knockahollet Primary School has had a long standing relationship with Coaching4Christ and we are delighted to be involved in the India project. We place a strong emphasis on encouraging children to look beyond what they have and to identify the needs of others, both locally and internationally so we see this as an ideal project to be involved in. The Coaching4Christ team are wonderful ambassadors who are very gifted in working with children of all ages both in the practical session and also during the teaching times. The children absolutely love the engagement with the team and it’s great to see how the relationships have developed over the year.” (Mr Gerry Black – Principal)
For quite a number of years Coaching4Christ have worked alongside the teachers and pupils in Knockahollet Primary School. It has always been a relationship which has been special, and from the first day I took a session there I sensed this. For us as coaches we have been so blessed to be a part of the school culture having coached every child in the school and getting to know them on a personal level.
This year I travelled to India in a team of five coaches from Coaching4Christ. We were going to help local charity El Shaddai Charitable Trust who are based in Assagao, Goa. They house over 300 rescue children from the streets and work with over 4000 children in total providing food, shelter, education and a hope for the future. It was felt that it would be a fantastic opportunity to partner a local Northern Ireland school with one in India, giving the children a chance to get a greater understanding of how fortunate they are, whilst sharing in the ability to make a difference in someone’s life.
We therefore established the ‘International Connect Project’, and what a response we had. I had spoken to the children of Miss Gaston’s class encouraging them to raise some money towards helping the children in India. They totally blew us all away with their passion and desire to help those in need. From donating their pocket money, to doing extra chores and some even cutting the grass all to fundraise for the project. The money raised amounted to £200 and this went towards buying new sports equipment for the Shanti Niketan School. This was truly a blessing to the school as they were now able to hold their own coaching sessions and even took part in a school tournament.
In addition to this the children were able to write letters to the children of the Shanti Niketan School who have been learning English. This meant so much to these children as they have very little in this world and a friend from thousands of miles away is precious. In return the boys and girls wrote letters back. This has since been a big factor in Knockahollet Primary School with children praying for their friends in India and also wanting to help again in the future.
It truly amazed me to see what a partnership with a local school can do for both the children giving here in Northern Ireland and the children receiving over in India. This is an experience I’ll never forget and as an organisation we look forward to using this project with other schools partnering with other countries to make a difference in the lives of children who need it most. It is my hope that by inspiring a generation to bless others that we could continue to reach the world with the gospel.
By Rodney Weir