What do you get when a group of like-minded people dress up rather silly and hike through the hills and vineyards of the Cote D’Azur in search of fresh air and a good feed?
At first, the fact they’re following a man dressed as a penguin might strike you a little antipodean, but upon closer inspection, or a casual chat, you may recognise Karma’s Global Chairman and Founder, John Spence, among the crowd (if not in the suit himself). It can only be the annual Karma Penguin Walk, in support of India’s kids, through Christel House India.
Now in its third year, the Karma Penguin Walk raises funds for Christel House India, which helps Christel House students secure tertiary level scholarships. Impressively, the 2016 event raised over $13,000 US Dollars – enough to put seven new scholarship students through their university and college courses for the duration of their studies.
A helping hand
According to Christel House India Managing Director, Raju Shahani, Spence and Karma Group’s support has been instrumental in helping Christel House achieve its goals.
“John Spence and the Karma Group have been major supporters of the school in Bangalore since it opened in 2001,” says Shahani.
“Their generosity has funded the construction of the Christel House Library, and provides annual funds for our vital nutrition programme, plus an annual ‘Camp Royal’. Through the Penguin Walk, John (Spence) has taken his support one step further.”
Gokul Kiran, one of the beneficiaries from the current round of scholarships, says that Christel House has helped him to become a confident and helpful person.
“The core values (respect, responsibility, independence and integrity) that I learned at Christel House are incredibly important. To make the world a better place we need global citizens who are honest and caring.”
“I want to be an engineer and also stay involved in social work. I want to help continue India’s development and aid those who are worse off than I.”
A clear mission
Christel House’s mission involves transforming children’s lives through education and helping them integrate into society. To date, the organisation has seen notable success: past students have secured roles with companies such as Ernst & Young, Dell, KPMG, Grant Thornton, Deutsche Bank, Hewlett Packard, Accenture, Goldman Sachs, Mphasis and Amazon.
Other students, such as Bangalore local, Shiva Sagar, joined Christel House’s program as a student and has since returned as part of the teaching team. Sagar won the prestigious first annual Adobe Youth Voices Award in 2009 and, after securing a degree in Engineering from the Government Engineering College in Ramanagara, eschewed the lure of Bangalore’s corporate world in favour of a position as a primary school teacher with Christel House.
The third Karma Penguin Walk will take place on Tuesday, the 27th of September, 2017, near St Tropez in France. Starting at the famous Cote D’Azur chateau, Le Preverger, purchased by Spence in 2012 and now a Karma Estate, participants will walk a twenty-three-kilometre route, stopping along the way at local restaurants and bars, all ready to feed the weary ‘Penguins.’
As always, all proceeds raised on the day will go directly to Christel House’s scholarship program, with Spence and the Karma team hoping to break last year’s fundraising record.
For more information on Christel House India, visit the Christel House website.