Vibrant celebration of world cultures at Pestalozzi

10 March 2014

Pestalozzi students (L-R): Aravind (India), Dawa (Bhutan), Krishna (Nepal), Nigel (Zimbabwe), Daniel (Belize), Sandra (Uganda), Lobsang (Tibet) and Justin (Zambia). Photo by Mags Alexander.


Jonathan, Emilie and Prashant at International Celebration
Staff members Jonathan and Emilie with Prashant. Photo by Mags Alexander

Cllr Colin Belsey, Chair of ESCC, with Pestalozzi students
Councillor Colin Belsey, Chairman of East Sussex County Council, with Audrey, Nigel, Prashant and Liona. Photo by Mags Alexander.

Pratiksha Sharma from Nepal
Pratiksha performs her poem. Photo by Jonathan Williams.

Laddoos - yum!
Laddoos (Indian sweets) made by Pestalozzi students. Photo by Mags Alexander.

Washington - quizmaster!
Washington made a great quizmaster. Photo by Jonathan Williams.

Pestalozzi Pirates and friends
Pestalozzi Pirates and friends rock out! Photo by Mags Alexander.

From Belizean spices to Bhutanese relish, contemporary street dance to traditional Nepali steps, Ugandan poetry and the story of King Arthur as told through Zambian eyes, our International Celebration featured a vibrant mix of flavours, music and fashion.

A warm welcome and world food

The sun was shining, the daffodils and cherry blossoms in full bloom and visitors were welcomed by students from eight countries across Africa, Asia and Central America.

Lunch was a huge success, with a choice of dishes from Eastern Africa, Nepal and Belize, served on rice and garnished with Bhutanese ema datshi (chilli cheese relish). For most guests, this was followed with sweets from Tibet and India, washed down with Ugandan ginger tea, spiced chai or non-alcoholic pineapple beer.

Speeches, songs and stories

Councillor Colin Belsey, Chairman of East Sussex County Council, opened proceedings with a short speech praising Pestalozzi’s work with young people from disadvantaged communities around the world.
He was followed closely by the first set of performances, introduced by student MC Lobsang Dolma. Syeed Anwar Ansari sang a beautiful Indian love song and Pratiksha Sharma performed her own poem about the plight of a trafficked woman in Nepal. Habiiba Malingha recited a poem about a proudly traditional young woman in Uganda (video) and Zambian student Justin Mushitu gave an alternative rendition of ‘Sword in the Stone’ (video).

Some visitors then chose to go on a guided walk around the beautiful Pestalozzi estate, led by facilities manager Alex Whittington.

International dances

Other guests remained to watch an eclectic set of dances, including a Nepali wedding dance, a contemporary street dance, a dance created for the Bhutan Royal Wedding in 2012 and a traditional Ugandan dance. This was followed by a short but energetic ‘dance mashup’ featuring Pestalozzi students and moves from around the world, and a Buddhist song, performed acapella by Lungten Wangdi. (Watch a video of the dances!)

Brainteasing quiz

A fiendishly difficult world-knowledge quiz, devised by Pestalozzi students, had guests racking their brains for answers. Did you know that Kali Gandaki gorge in Nepal is the deepest gorge in the world? That Kenneth David Kaunda was the first president of an independent Zambia? Or that the Grey Crowned Crane was chosen as Uganda’s emblem because it contains all the colours of the Ugandan flag?

Marvellous music

The afternoon wrapped up with a rocking set from the Pestalozzi Pirates – Ugyen Wangchuk (Tibet) on drums, Pradosh Bista (Nepal) on guitar and David Mtonga (Zambia) on vocals – supported by local musicians Bob Walton and Stewart and Louisa Patient (video).

International Celebration is an annual event that gives Pestalozzi students the opportunity to showcase their own cultures and to share their experiences. Pestalozzi has welcomed young people from around the world to the beautiful village of Sedlescombe since the 1950s.

We give scholarships to exceptional young people from disadvantaged communities, allowing them to complete their secondary education and go on to make a difference in the world.

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Inspiring young people to make a difference in the world.