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Student blog: Faith in diversity

Diversity at Pestalozzi
'Pestalozzi is the epitome of a multi-faith, multi-cultural community.'
Holi at Pestalozzi
The students celebrating Holi, a Hindu spring festival.
Christmas at Pestalozzi
Look what we found hiding under the Christmas tree...
Louis lights candles at our Indian evening
A variety of religions are celebrated at Pestalozzi.
21 July 2014

Pestalozzi students Timothy Ogolla (Uganda), Lobsang Dolma (Tibet) and Binayak Datta (India) explain how the charity's multi-cultural, multi-faith community works.

True meaning of diversity

Enter the Pestalozzi neighbourhood and you’ll understand the true meaning of diversity. Students’ different backgrounds include not only cultural diversity but also a variety of faiths, belief systems and religions. Among us are Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus and atheists. Not many of us knew about each other’s religions or cultures before coming to Pestalozzi. Here, we come to understand and are able to respect and learn from each other’s beliefs.

Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim worship

The Sunday kitchen is busy, bustling with activity. Every corner is occupied, mostly by Christians and a few early risers. It will clock 9:30 soon, time to go to church. Next in line are the Buddhists, in for a quick breakfast. By 10:30, they will be heading towards the Pestalozzi shrine room to have their usual supplication. For them also, Sunday morning is the most convenient. As for the Hindus, they do not have a particular hour and a place – after all, they have almost thirty three million gods and goddesses, so each person has a deity of choice to worship. As for the Muslims, a trip to the mosque on a Friday is obligatory; the Jum’ah prayer is to be taken very seriously. On the other days, however, all the five prayers in a day can be said in one’s own room.

Celebrating Holi and Mawlid

All the students have heard about Holi, a Hindu celebration. OK, maybe not all the first year students, but definitely all the second years! At Pestalozzi, it is an amalgamation of the different religions, cultures, continents and beliefs, all in the name of fun. There is no way to avoid the coloured powders that fly from end to end of the village. Not even the cold wind in March can stop the delight of chasing people around with the colours and having traditional snacks cooked by our Indian and Nepalese students.

By the time weariness settles in we have the perfect definition of multi-colour (in every face, in every cloth, the minimum is four different colours). On occasions like Mawlid, a commemoration of the birth of the prophet Muhammad, every student receives a treat from our Muslim friends. This year, it was some of the tastiest chocolates you could ever get. Last year, we were given lovely white roses. With these gifts come thoughtful quotes from Islam.

Equality and respect

In this wonderful diversity at Pestalozzi, every religion is treated on an equal footing and given rightful respect. Being in the UK, many of us cannot get access to the same level of religious practice as at home. But, at the same time, we gain a wider knowledge of independent thoughts and actions. No wonder Pestalozzi is the epitome of a multi-faith, multi-cultural community.

Would you like to write a blog post about what Pestalozzi means to you? Get in touch with Marketing Officer Stacey Amer to discuss your ideas! Email or call 01424 871901.

This article first appeared in the Pestalozzi Newsletter Spring/Summer 2014.

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