Before dawn on 8 June 2020, our staff superheroes prepare the next round of emergency food deliveries for the children of MMS–food now even more urgently needed after the devastation wreaked by Cyclone Amphan. By 7:00 am local time, they sent word that the team was on the road. Once again, they brave the pandemic. This time they also brave horrendous traveling conditions over roads and towns littered by debris and flood damage.
God speed to the MMS Superheroes, carrying food to our needy children!
God speed and many, many thanks to all of you who have contributed so generously to make this miracle possible. If you have not yet donated, but you would like to contribute, you can do so here on our donations page: friendsofthemathiesonschool.org/donate
Cyclone Amphan dealt MMS a hard blow, but our hearts and our spirits are strong!
Recovery efforts began the day after the storm and they continue daily. Despite daytime temperatures around 103 degrees Fahrenheit (over 39 degrees Celsius) and humidity levels pushing 100%, our seven staff members at MMS (with tail-wagging support from their canine mascots, Spotty and Valo) have been working hard to clean up debris and to dry food, mattresses, bedding, furniture, books, and music. It’s tough work, especially because the electricity is still out—which means they can’t even use fans to cool down!
Dipak and his team have been working on getting roofers in fix damage to the boys’ dorm, the kitchen, and the offices. They are also restoring the gardens and repairing the protective netting over the fish ponds.
Everyone is determined to make sure the school is ready as soon as officials allow the children to return.
Organizers in the UK and the US have begun several fundraising campaigns and—thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and people like you—we’ve made a good start on raising the money to pay for repairs to campus (and to continue feeding the children).
Thank you all for your help in our efforts to ensure that the Mathieson Music School continues to bring education and music to the needy girls and boys of Kolkata!
Super Cyclone Amphan hit The Mathieson Music School in Kolkata, India between Wednesday 20th May and Thursday 21st May 2020.
The massive storm caused extensive damage to the school’s electrical wiring, security cameras around the campus, and to our plantings & food gardens, including trees blown through our brick boundary wall. The net covering over an acre of the fish pond was destroyed.
Roofs were blown off the kitchen, dinning hall, offices and boys dormitory, which led to significant flooding and wind damage.
Food was saturated. Our music library–so recently reorganized by our staff–is sodden.
At the moment, we estimate there is about £25,000 ($30,000) worth of cyclone-related damage to the campus of the Mathieson Music School.
Fortunately, our whole staff is safe. As soon as it is safe to do so, our staff will begin traveling to the homes of our students to check on the children.
We hesitate to ask again. You have all been so generous already after our girls were forced to leave campus and throughout the global pandemic. But if you can donate any amount to help us recover from this latest blow, we will be forever grateful.
If you cannot afford a financial donation, please pray for the school, its staff, and its students, and for all people affected by this horrible storm.
Super Cyclone Amphan is bearing down on Kolkata and all of West Bengal. Please pray for the staff and children of MMS as they face this monster storm.
As you can see in this video from MMS staff, weather conditions at the school are deteriorating rapidly. The staff there are doing what they can to keep the school and themselves safe. They are all secured in the main building with the windows and doors secured. They’re keeping their phones charged and they’ve gathered candles for when the inevitable power outage comes. And they’ve brought in Spotty, the school’s mascot dog, and one of his frightened dog buddies to keep them safe too. They’ve promised to send updates as they can.
It’s a scary situation for people who are already facing tremendous hardship. Please keep them in your hearts and support them any way you can.
Music truly is the tie that binds. Even in these challenging times, it is connecting musicians at the Mathieson Music School in Kolkata with their friends at St. Mary’s Chard in Somerset, UK.
Today, Sunday, May 17, 2020, is Rogation Sunday, which is traditionally one of the three days before Ascension Day. Rogation Days are ones in which the faithful give thanks for their food and those who produce it; it is also a time when people ask for blessing on crops to yield a bountiful harvest.
Traditionally congregants at St. Mary’s Chard walk to all of the local Anglican churches, including St. Mary’s Wambrook, St. Mary’s Chard, St. Nicholas Combe St. Nicholas, and St. Andrew’s Whitestaunton, to pray and celebrate together. This year they were forced to adapt their service to comply with social distancing requirements, but they were also able to add musical accompaniment (via video) provided by the staff at the MMS.
Reverend Georgina Vye has provided us with a beautiful video of the service, including the music provided by Deputy Headmaster John Ashis Mondal (violin 1); Headmaster Dipak Sapui (violin 2); Superintendent Sairul Mollah (cello); Food Relief Team Member Projesh Dhari (cello/alto); and Executive Member Suraj Dolui (cello).
We hope you enjoy walking with them through the beautiful countryside of Somerset, sharing in their worship, and listening to the wonderful, heartfelt music of this group of talented musicians—all of whom were trained at MMS.
Even while our students are away during the COVID-19 crisis, the MMS staff is hard at work on campus preparing for the day when our students can return. In addition to making food deliveries to students we’re working on our kitchen garden and organizing our music library. When we can finally welcome our students back to campus, we’ll be more than ready!
Some of our students who live near campus came to MMS to pick up their food packets in person. We look forward to the day when we can welcome them back to school, but till then, we’re glad we can ensure they have the supplies they need.
Headmaster Dipak Sapui let us know that the skies cleared enough for emergency food distribution to MMS children and their families to begin again on Wednesday, 22nd April.
While this trip was much longer than the first two, the team tells us that, luckily, it was also much smoother. Our MMS superheroes were able to bring food to students in more remote villages. Thanks to their bravery and hard work, our students should have enough supplies to face the coming weeks.
Alongside much-needed food, our MMS team is making sure our students are still getting the education they deserve. Home learning has been arranged for students in maths, Bengali and English.
Dipak and everyone at MMS are very grateful to all our friends worldwide who have helped make this possible. Dipak said it best: “We are grateful to all our Trustees and supporters in the USA, UK, Australia and elsewhere for their continuous support and prayers. We know that with your continued support we will overcome this hurdle and move on to happy days.”
Deputy headmaster John Ashis Mondal wrote to us today to say intense thunderstorms have hit Kolkata. Our team cannot safely make deliveries in the midst of these dangerous storms. They plan to make their second round of deliveries as soon as the skies clear, hopefully as early as tomorrow morning.
After 13 hours on the road, our team has returned safely from today’s food delivery. They were able to reach 54 of our students with enough supplies to keep them fed in the coming month. The team will be on the road again early tomorrow morning to continue deliveries. Thanks to the hard work and bravery of these heroic staff members, and through the support of our friends around the world, we will make sure our students and their families have the food they need.
Thank you to all who donated to our emergency food fund during this time. Together, we have raised almost $1300 (£1040) just since yesterday’s post. Your support for our school in the face of this crisis has been incredible. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
If you have not yet donated to the fund and would like to, you can contribute through our donation page linked below.