Four Health & Social Care students from MidKent College recently travelled to India, a journey described as a life-changing experience. India has a population of over 1.35 billion people (that’s almost 18% of the world’s population) a quarter of whom live in poverty. During the long-haul trip they visited various places of education, from slum schools to super schools where children of the very wealthy are educated. The trip highlighted the fact that the divide between the rich and the poor is huge. The chosen students fundraised to pay for the trip themselves.

The students visited two schools for orphans and children of poor widows, visiting children both at home and in their schools, in four slum areas. A slum school typically comprises of six posts and a tarpaulin sheet, shading about thirty children from the hot sun. Even in these difficult circumstances the children were always happy and eager to learn. In contrast, the students also spent time in a private school where the children of India’s new wealthy classes benefit from the best facilities that money can buy. These profoundly contrasting surroundings are paid for with the high fees that schools like this charge.

The students saw very different experiences between the rich and poor. This was not always easy and their eyes were opened to the health and social care challenges in the developing world. The trip organiser Tony Truscott said “what the students experienced has changed their perception on their own lives and has made them appreciate their own well-being and not take things for granted”. Also accompanying the students was staff member Nikki Martin.

Student Kayley Harrington “I would say to anyone who is considering applying to be on next year’s project – don’t think you are going on holiday. Be prepared for it to cause change in your life. The whole experience has made me reflect on my career and my future. I would also love the opportunity to go again – I do, however, realise that I have to let others take their turn!”.

The students stayed at the ABLE charity hospital at Faridabad, 65 kms from Delhi. (ABLE stands for Association for Blindness, Leprosy and Eradication – Staying amongst the most disadvantaged in the local community was an important part of the student’s experience. There was little point experiencing the difficulties faced by local children only to return to a luxury hotel. The students also spent time with ABLE youth charity team - young Indian students from more affluent backgrounds, who are trying to make a difference by helping the charity.

Find out more about Health and Social Care Courses at MidKent College