Five teenage Hasmonean girls have won a trip to India this summer in recognition of their charitable endeavours.
Three-hundred teams of five 13-18-year-olds entered the Wings of Hope Achievement Awards, recognising innovative methods of fundraising towards free education in schools in India and Malawi.
A judging panel including Only Fools and Horses star Sir David Jason chose Hasmonean’s Sara Cowen, Anna Lawson, Chani Shear, Tsiona Hill and Olivia Dowell, the self-declared Team Unity, who trekked up the snowbound highest mountain in the Peak District in February, raising £3,000 for the charity.
“We brainstormed loads of different things, like a craft fair,” Olivia recalled. “But we needed the challenge and the trek was a really good experience.”
Anna added: “It’s important not just to focus on your religion but also to help others outside your culture.”
As part of their prize trip, the girls, aged 13 and 14, will visit Indian schools to see where their money has gone and will have the opportunity to teach a class. They will also tour a Jewish-run pharmaceutical company in India. Sara, who wants to pursue a career as a paramedic, said it would be a “really good opportunity”.
Headteacher Rachel Fink said participation in the programme “says something about us moving forward as a school, focusing on a Jewish and secular education and working with the community out there. Our students have shown that it is possible to contribute to wider society without compromising their values. The girls are a credit to the school, their families, the community and teenagers in general.”