Who would have thought it possible to Bollywood dance to a country music band playing ‘Coming Round the Mountain’?
However, in pursuit of funds for their school project in India, that is exactly how Milton Keynes Rotary Satellite ended their East Meets West evening fundraiser.
Everyone was on their feet following the two Bollywood dancers.
An old English pub allowed the Satelliters from Buckinghamshire to take over their restaurant, decorate the room and offer a choice of Indian and British dishes.
The fundraising is refurbishing and equipping a school in India.
Jill Moss, chair of the club, explained that the project was initially suggested by two members who had returned from a visit to their homeland.
“One of our members, Mukesh Kumar, met with the director of a very successful private school situated in a village outside of Patna in north-east India,” explained Jill.
“The director told Mukesh about a dilapidated state school, Jinpura Primary, just a quarter of a mile down the village road.
“He had dreamt about helping the students there for some time, but the task was large, and he owed obvious allegiance to his own fee-paying families.
“The classrooms at Jinpura Primary had no desks or chairs meaning the children sat on the floor.
“No running water meant very poor sanitation and, with no electricity for fans or heaters, it was stiflingly hot in the summer and very cold in the winter.
“The director asked how could Jinpura students climb out of this cycle of poverty in which they were trapped?”
That was the spark to set up a project, with Chanakya Rotary, Patna acting as the host club for a Foundation Global Grant application in conjunction with the English club.
“When the director spoke to Mukesh and learnt about Foundation Global Grants, as well as the Milton Keynes Satellite Club’s interest in an international project, his face lit up,” added Jill.
“If the network of Rotary meant financial assistance for his dream, the director said he would volunteer his efforts to help.
“He immediately took on the needs assessment, getting together the village heads and parents of Jinpura School.”
With fundraising taking place in earnest, a letter has been written to the educational authorities asking their permission to refurbish the school, improve sanitation and install classroom furniture.
Fifteen computers will be securely housed at the private school for the sole use of Jinpura students, along with an IT teacher employed to run a basic computer literacy course, who will also train staff from Jinpura.
Jill said: “If the project comes to fruition, all the satellite members will be Bollywood dancing, celebrating the meeting of east and west.”