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Alumni blog: Letter to JH Pestalozzi

Pestalozzi statue photo by Peter Macinnis
Photo: Statue of JH Pestalozzi (by Peter Macinnis - used with his permission)

Surya helping with the rice harvest
Photo: Surya helping at home in Nepal on the last day of the rice harvest.

Surya learning the accordion
Photo: Surya learning to play accordion in Thailand (photo by Carol Isaacs)

12 January 2014

Our charity is named after Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, a Swiss educational reformer born on 12 January 1746. JH Pestalozzi worked tirelessly to provide educational opportunities for children, and pioneered a new pedagogical approach based around learning with the head, heart and hands. On his birthday this year, one of our recent graduates, Surya Tripathi, wrote him a letter.

Dear Mr Pestalozzi,

I would like to wish you a very happy birthday. Your legacy will keep inspiring people forever.

You changed my life. I spent two phenomenal years at Pestalozzi International Village Trust in the UK, participating actively in an extensive academic and social environment. This has been by far one of the most interesting experiences of my life. Had it not been for your ongoing influence, I would not have been able to study such a reputed course as the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Analogous to the butterfly effect, I would not have received my full scholarship offer to Stanford University if you had not educated me. Thank you for developing me into a fine young man capable of critical thinking and good judgement.

I have observed myself grow as you taught me the importance and practical significances of the Head, the Heart and the Hands. Over the years, I have volunteered in Nepal, the UK and Thailand. Being able to help others brings me pleasure. I saw myself using the concepts of probability that I studied in maths classes to find ways of securing DNA databases as an intern of the Genmate Project, one of the projects of the Genformatic organisation from Texas. At Mut Mee, the guest house where I am staying at in Nong Khai, I communicate on average with six different foreigners every day. I practice my Spanish with an Argentinian friend of mine. I am also learning to be a bartender at the floating Gaia Bar. All these activities have been possible due to exposure to a lot of foreign national friends and their different cultures at Pestalozzi. I have always enjoyed trying out different things and I am really enjoying exploring them in Thailand.

I still have a long way to go. Like you, I have a dream to develop something new and help my home community and the whole world at large. You have taught me to be ambitious and optimistic. Things change and so do people, but I promise that I will definitely get back to you when I have a clear direction of my discovery.

Hoping to take your lead!


Surya Tripathi
Pestalozzi Alumnus (2011-2013)

Find out more about our 2013 graduates in our alumni blog series: Kishore is in Kolkata and Yadu is in Kathmandu.

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Inspiring young people to make a difference in the world.