Not just an education, but a bright future guaranteed
Our visit to the Christel House Foundation was scheduled for a Monday. We decided to leave a little early – so that we could avoid the start-of-the-week traffic. But folks headed to work seemed to have the same idea too! Coupled with the fact that we got our directions wrong, it took us a good three hours to arrive at this school. But it was a ride well-worth what lay ahead for us.
As you enter their premises, you understand why they decided to be located at an hour and a half’s drive out of the city. For space! And they’ve utilized their seven-acre property well to provide some of the best facilities for their children. A walk around leads you to a football field, a volleyball field, a basketball court, and a playground outside; and the building houses 29 classrooms, 3 science labs, a computer laboratory, a dining hall and kitchen, a well-stocked music room and an even better stocked library.
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How it all began
The story behind how this organization was setup is as interesting as its educational principles. Setup by Christel DeHaan, it is one of the many schools that falls under the Christel House International network of schools that are present in four continents. The first being in Mexico in 1998, followed by schools in South Africa, Venezuela, USA, Serbia, and, of course, India.
However, Christel DeHaan is more famous for her contributions to the time-share exchange business, Resort Condominiums International (RCI), which she co-founded with her husband Jon DeHaan, in 1973. To put her association with RCI in a nutshell – In 1979, when he suffered a heart attack, she took over the company’s daily management. In 1987, she was awarded half the company when she and Mr. DeHaan divorced. In 1989 she purchased the rest from her ex-husband for $67.5 million.
In 2011, two of their students – Akshay Vijay and Hema Subramani – along with the art teacher Dhanaraj Keezhara, attended the Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) Summit 2011 at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA, USA. AYV is a signature philanthropy program of Adobe Foundation implemented in India by the American India Foundation Trust with a vision to introduce young minds to the world of digital media. Post this summit, Akshay worked on an a project called “Who’s Going To Save Our Earth” which is a music video album, which carries the message of saving the earth from pollution.[codepeople-post-map][codepeople-post-map]