Blackrock College

Blackrock College continued its work with humanitarian charity, GOAL, last week when it sent nine transition year students to Kolkata (Calcutta) on a week-long aid mission.
The nine students set off for India on January 12 ahead of their St Patrick’s Day Badge fundraising event that Blackrock students engage in each year.
This year’s trip to India will see the students visit some of the aid agency’s projects for the poor and, through this experience, will get a clearer view of how the funds raised by the school are utilised to improve and save many of the lives of Kolkata’s citizens.
The boys will be taken under the care of GOAL’s aid team and will be shown first hand how such aid work in such deprived areas is conducted, and how challenging working and living conditions are for aid workers.
GOAL’s Development education co-ordinator Maeve Seery said: “GOAL works with those who exist at the very fringes of society in Kolkata.
“We want to show the boys that the money Blackrock has raised is helping GOAL provide clean water, proper sanitation, healthcare, informal education and other essential services to these vulnerable people.”
Maeve is escorting the boys on the trip, along with transition year teacher  Christina Nulty.
The trip will also involve the boys learning how to make bricks by hand, seeing how families survive at the city’s dump sites, visiting children in the city’s slum schools, and meeting some of the patients at a rehabilitation centre.
Fifteen-year-old Blackrock College volunteer Sam Hardiman said of the opportunity: “I’m delighted that I was picked for this trip. I think that the nine days in Kolkata could change the way I see the world for the rest of my life.”
The St Patrick’s Day Badge fundraiser has been operated by the school for the last 23 years and, to date, the annual campaign has generated more than €2 million for programmes organised by GOAL and Aidlink.
The badge campaign was set up to support the two agencies in 1990 by a group of entrepreneurial Blackrock College students.