We are delighted to announce the opening of the Adam Coombs Advanced Studies Centre at New Rise Academy in Kashyem, India that was celebrated in the presence of Jennifer Coombs and her son, Jack, along with other members of their family.

The Centre was funded by the Coombs family as a memorial to their son, Adam, who tragically died in India in 2010.  Adam had been a volunteer at New Rise and had loved his experience of teaching the children in such beautiful surroundings.  The extension provides a top floor to the existing building, completed by MondoChallenge Foundation in 2009.  It will allow the school to move towards provision of secondary education up to age 16.  This will enable children from the surrounding villages to avoid the costly journeys or need for boarding required to attend the other secondary schools in the region.

Hirsh Cashdan, a Mondo Trustee, was present at the opening and commented: “It was a wonderful occasion, tinged naturally with emotion, but also bringing immense happiness to the family and the staff and children of the school.”

Jack Coomb’s epic achievement of swimming the channel was instrumental in raising the funds for the building. He also organized a successful music festival which helped publicise Mondo’s Kalimpong programme. He felt the school reflected what the family had hoped for; “A real centre of excellence in the heart of the Himalayas, where every child will have a chance to achieve their potential“.

On her return to UK, Jennifer Coombs wrote that “We were very impressed by the children themselves, full of enthusiasm, intelligent and polite. It was especially wonderful to meet those who remembered Adam and to hear their stories. We were so pleased to see the new buildings complete and realized how hard everyone had worked ahead of our visit. It seems that we have made a difference to young lives in Adam’s memory and that is very meaningful to us. We would like to think of this as a first visit of an ongoing partnership for years to come“.

The opening of the new top floor extension at New Rise Academy and also the new school building at Munsung were the highlights of our work in Kalimpong during 2011“, said Mondo CEO Anthony Lunch.  “We now have the capacity to educate children from kindergarten through to 13 years old, and soon right up to Secondary Certificate.  Encouragingly, a similar development is happening in the Darjeeling region where Magno Vale Academy and Sacred Heart School are both developing their upper streams with great success“.