Twenty school students from the German town of Beilstein are in Thiruvananthapuram on a mission - to do a comparative study of old age care in Kerala and Baden Wuttermberg, their home state, in southern Germany.
The students, belonging Herzog-Christoph-Gymnasium School in Beilstein, are participants of a student-exchange programme with Trivandrum International School (TRINS), Pallipuram. Both schools are engaged in a joint project on old age care. “This year-long project, which started in February, is jointly organised by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and Goethe-Institute, New Delhi,” said teacher-in-charge from TRINS Sinduja Menon.
The aim of the programme was to provide students with “an opportunity to communicate with students at host institutions/countries and to foster sensitivity, appreciation and understanding of diverse cultures”, she added.
Gabriele Baechle, the teacher accompanying the German students, said the initial stages of the project had seen students of both schools keep in touch with each other and exchange information through Skype and e-mail.
“The students and teachers from TRINS had come to Germany in June this year to visit our school and spent two weeks with our students,” she said. She added that the highlight of the TRINS itinerary was a visit to an old-age home in their town, where the students had interacted with and put up a cultural programme for the inmates.
The German students, who reached the city on Monday, will be staying here for a fortnight, Baechle said.
“We are all looking forward to spending a whole day in Saigramam, the coming Monday,” she said, referring to the charitable institute in the name of the spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba at Thonnackal.
Apart from working on their joint project at TRINS, their iterinary for the first week included visits to handmade coir and cashew factories, interactions with eminent persons such as Shashi Tharoor Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development and S Irudaya Rajan from Centre for Development Studies. They are seeking an audience next week with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy; as well as with members of the Travancore royal family Aswathy Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bai and Adithya Varma.
They put up a cultural show, which included a PowerPoint presentation on their school, at the Goethe Zentrum on Thursday evening.