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Leadership: Doon builds only school in Rudraprayag 2016

On the fateful night 16th June 2013, disaster struck the Kedar Valley. Many thousands lost their lives or their livelihoods in a disaster of gigantic proportions. One victim of the vast tragedy was Taxila Public school in Chakha in Rudraprayag District. Despite much public outcry at the time, almost nothing of any pratical support was given to the region by anyone.

In the autumn of 2013, The Doon School had decided to commit to the rehabilitation of Rudraprayag District by rebuilding Taxila Public School, which served 175 underprivileged children, and which was engulfed in those terrible, dark days when the valley’s hope seemed to come to an end.  In keeping with its long traditions of social service and disaster response, and also in keeping with its philosophy of going beyond donating food, water, clothing or money, The Doon School community felt that it should step forward. After initial rescue and relief operations were over, the school dedicated itself to a role for the long term in reconstructing its own state.  In September 2013, over two hundred boys from The Doon School and teachers went up into the mountains to several disaster-hit villages and areas to carry out a reconnaissance mission and give “second wave” relief. This encompassed digging out debris-filled buildings (including a government school), a medical camp, emotional support for bereaved families and rebuilding foundations for bridges washed away by the swollen rivers.

Three years later, the Chief Guest Dr. Peter McLaughlin, Headmaster of The Doon School, inaugurated the new buildings constructed for the children, parents and teachers who had seen their school inundated and destroyed in those epic floods. Dr. McLaughlin jointly cut the ribbon to open the new classrooms and supporting facilities with Guest of Honour Ms. Lashmi Rana, the Zilla Panchayat Adhyaksh, Rudraprayag. This followed a crore of investment almost exclusively raised by the school and multiple visits by the boys of the school and the pupils nationally and internationally from Round Square schools to support this huge investment in time and money. The Headmaster, Dr Peter McLaughlin, on inaugurating the school, said that “Of all the achievements of The Doon School during my time as headmaster, this is the one of which I am probably most proud.  The Doon School exists to serve the nation of India, and this project sits at the very core of our mission to reach out to our underprivileged fellow citizens.”  He praised and felicitated all those who had made the project possible, including those who had donated land, the donors of the funds needed for construction, the masters, experts and students of The Doon School, and the girls, boys, teachers and principals of the Round Square schools who had kept faith with the people of Rudraprayag.  He said that they were all there as long term partners to carry out meaningful and enduring work, and to inculcate in the students of The Doon School and participating Round Square schools the principles of serving their fellow man, India would be better for this commitment.