De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s work in India has won a prestigious national award recognising outstanding work in UK higher education.
Square Mile India, which supports some of the poorest communities in Gujarat, was named International Strategy of the Year in the 2018 Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards, known as the THELMAs.
The awards champion the best examples of innovation and enterprise in higher education today and the work done by professional services staff in particular.
Originally formed to support youngsters living in a children’s home in the Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad, Square Mile India has since expanded and aims to work with thousands this year, collaborating with partners Manav Sadhna.
DMU students and staff travel to Ahmedabad regularly to work with communities on projects such as delivering English classes, running free hearing screenings, teaching dance or drama, or finding ways in which technology could improve lives.
The THELMAs were presented last night at an awards ceremony in London’s Grosvenor Hotel. The judges said that DMU’s entry was “simply outstanding”, adding: “Faculties and students had the chance to become engaged with the programme through research activities, teaching and training opportunities and health outreach through participating in and forming relationships with NGOs and organisations in India.”
“It has been life-changing for the students involved, and also established longer-term partnerships between DMU and the charities that it has engaged with in India.”
The Square Mile India Fund was also created to support the work on the ground in Ahmedabad, providing essentials such as books, school equipment, access to medicine, and sports and games equipment for young people.
One of its next challenges is to design and build new homes in a community of former leprosy sufferers, who are forced to leave their homes each year due to monsoon flooding.
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Architecture students have worked in collaboration with a local architect to develop designs and two prototype homes are being built now.
Mark Charlton, Head of Public Engagement at DMU, said: “Square Mile India has already made a difference to the lives of people in Ahmedabad and also our students, who gain an incredible amount personally from their time. Every student who has taken part in a Square Mile India experience should share in this success.
“We’re now looking forward to working with our partners to support even more communities.”
The university was shortlisted in the DataPoints Merit Award category, which was created to highlight universities performing well within global rankings, as well as the Outstanding Financial Performance and International Strategy of the Year.
Posted on Friday 22nd June 2018