Life-changing lessons for Limerick students in Kolkata

Teacher Katie Chapple with the seven Limerick students who participated in the Hope Foundation mission to Kolkata.

IT’S a far cry from worrying about grades in the State exams to saving a six year old child who has been trafficked in the sex trade.

Seven students from Laurel Hill Coláiste and one from Cresent Comprehensive with their teacher, Katie Chapple, have just returned from a visit to Kolkata in India where they got some stark lessons in the reality of poverty and the work being done by the Hope Foundation to rescue lost and abandoned children. 

The Hope Foundation has partnered with Laurel Hill for the last decade and the students and teacher went to see where the money so generously donated and raised by Irish people is spent.

“There’s a hospital there that is completely funded by Irish people,” Katie told the Limerick Post.

“It’s sad to say but the children who have been rescued by the Foundation (like the six year old who was trafficked) are the lucky ones. The poverty is just incredible. Having seen it first-hand just makes me want to be an even stronger advocate for the work they do.”

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Rachel Angland was one of the Laurel Hill students who travelled  with Ms Chapple. She described the experience was life changing.

“You just couldn’t describe the poverty people have to live in. You see such a different kind of society and you feel really sheltered by your life at home.”

Rachael said the most striking experience she had was visiting the schools and creches run by the Foundation.

“I would definitely recommend anyone to go and experience this. It will change your whole outlook on life.”

During the week there, the Limerick group got to see the amazing work that the Hope Foundation are doing, from school supports to protection homes.

Personal highlights from the trip for students including “visiting the Hope foundation schools and hospital,” Olivia Ní Fhoglú said. 

Mae Ní Fhearghail said that it was “amazing to see who our fundraising money is helping and the positive impact it has on the children”.

Ella Schasser loved playing and talking with the children in the creches and schools.  

Each of the girls had to raise €2,400 to make the trip – “a huge achievement to them,” Katie said. 

“However, it is possible to make a change by sponsoring one child at just €23 a month to make a positive difference to those who have so little. It’s an amount most of wouldn’t even miss.” 

The Hope Foundation is dedicated to promoting the protection of street and slum children in Kolkata, some of the most underprivileged in India, as well as their families and communities.

Donations can be made at