Skip to content

Cheltenham resident travels to India to help street children

University of Gloucestershire staff member Barbara Rainbow is preparing to travel to Kolkata, India on Monday, 25 January to volunteer with disadvantaged families and the city’s street children.

Barbara Rainbow, from Leckhampton, who works at the University as Co-ordinator and Administrator of the Sustainability Team has volunteered for the Good News Children Education Mission (GNCEM) for over a decade. Barbara was introduced to the mission from her work with Charlton Kings Baptist Church and this year will be Barbara’s eleventh year of volunteering in India.

GNCEM has seven schools on the outskirts of Kolkata for street children and children from the slums and provides education for children who cannot afford to travel into the city for school, or buy uniform or books. Barbara will help to teach the children English, play with them to help their social skills and show them care and attention.

Barbara will log her volunteering hours as part of the University’s ‘Bank It’ campaign that aims to reach 18,000 hours of staff and student volunteering by the end of the academic year.

Barbara said: “Children who go to the schools come from across the city, the school bus collects them from the streets and the rubbish dumps where they live and the school provides them with the education needed to give them a start in life.”

The work of the mission is to teach the children to be disciplined, caring, honest, helpful, loving and forgiving and the younger children benefit too as there is also a baby and toddler nursery for children from the same families.

Barbara said: “I’ll be helping out in two schools whilst I’m there, working with 10 and 11 year olds helping them with maths and English. Some of the children are really bright and it’s wonderful when we go back and see some of the same children and see how they have progressed.”