Mangalore: Love for Humanity Lands Dutch Students at Sidhakatte

Mangalore, Jul 12

Pics - Mounesh Vishwakarma
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore (GA)

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Sidhakatte, a remote place near Bantwal, is a place that perhaps not many are familiar with. But St Patrick's Higher Primary School of this region has been a centre of attraction off late, putting Sidhakatte on a global map. Hard as it may seem to believe, a group of students from Holland have been staying here for quite some time now, and practically working for the construction of the school building. From filtering sand to cementing bricks in the walls, these zealous Dutch are working alongside the local masons, in addition to funding thousands of rupees for the construction themselves. 

The condition of the old school building was awful, with weak walls and roofs and threatened the safety of children. Owing to the combined efforts of Fr Valerian D'Souza, the present correspondent of the school, Mark Walder, ex-correspondent, Xavier D'Souza, headmister and staff of the school, contributions from Ronald Moras, Virendra Shettigar, Norbert Rego, Lokesh Shetty and this Dutch group, the construction process is underway. 

They belong to an organization called 'World Servants of Netherland', that considers social service and service to mankind as its prime objective. The modus operandi and the approach of this organization is similar to the National Service Scheme (NSS) that we have in our country. The contingent comprising of 38 members came down to India on July 4 and has been working incessantly for the school since then. 

Their discipline and hard work truly needs to be lauded. Apart from a 2-hour lunch break, there is not a single minute that they spend on anything other than work. "Their punctuality and time sense is flawless. They have a time table for everything and stick to it religiously, unlike us who never take time seriously and keep making petty time adjustments and delays. They don't waste a single minute. When on work, hours together that is, they do not use their mobile phones at all. Their discipline is impeccable" says a happy Mildred Sequeira, headmistress, St Patrick's Higher Primary School.

The local masons too have been having a good time in the company of these energetic Dutch. "They do more work than us. It is like we are here to assist them and not the other way round. Yes, we don't know their language and they don't know ours. But still with non-verbal clues, signals and our broken English, we try to communicate with them and they pick it quite accurately" says a smiling local mason.

The working conditions are truly demanding but the ever enthusiastic Dutch group works hard and enjoys its work. "The weather is definitely a factor. India is quite hot. We don't see such hot and humid conditions back home in Holland and that does make work quite a challenging job. Although the materials that are being used here for construction are pretty much the same we use in Holland, we use things in smaller packages. The cement bags here are of 50 kgs but the cement bags that you'll see in Holland will be not more than 20 kgs. Besides, the bricks and stones that are being used here are quite big in comparison to smaller bricks used back home" says Cees Versteeg Cornelis, the team leader of the Dutch faction. 

But it is the feeling of universal brotherhood and empathy that drives them forward in their endeavor to serve, against all hardships. "We have sufficient in Holland and we're quite happy with it. But there are many people in the world who are not as blessed as we are. That's why we're here…To share what we have, to work for the needy, to try and put a smile on the face of those who need it the most" discloses Cees Versteeg Cornelis.

Nevertheless, it has been quite a learning experience for the men and women from Netherland. "India is really nice. The people, the atmosphere, the children… I don't think schoolchildren in Holland are as disciplined as Indian kids. Besides, the 'uniform' for school children is something we don't have in Holland" says a grinning member of the Dutch group. And the food? "Well, its too spicy! We have to keep drinking litres of water when we have Indian food" she exclaims. A couple of people in their group are meant for cooking purpose alone, so that they don't miss home food, and of course, to avoid burning of their tongues due to Indian spices which they are not accustomed to. "Visits to other countries like this make you realize the significance of your home, your parents, and your country. We do miss Holland at times" reveals another Dutch companion.


The European contingent spends quality time with the children studying in the school as well. They sit with them in their classrooms, play with them on the playground, sing and dance with them, and help them with reading, writing, drawing, etc and make them comfortable. After the completion of their stint at the construction site in the evening, they go for house visits trying to figure out the state of the village, the condition of children, whether everyone is sent to school, and interact with children. 

They are slated to leave India on 19 of July, and by their own admission, they are going to miss India a lot. Working hard day in and day out, this dedicated cluster of Dutch volunteers is a picture of discipline and composure. Their gesture is 'inspiring' in the true sense of the term. To understand perseverance better, we perhaps need to take a leaf out of their book.

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by Abrar Khan - Daijiworld Media Network Mangalore
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Comment on this article

  • Nathalia, The Netherlands

    Thu, Jul 24 2008

    Hello! I have worked with World Servants to build this class-room. We are very happy that we have done this and we are very grateful for our experiences and for everything that we have seen. Hopefully you like the video! Thank you for all your responses! X

  • John D'Cruz, Bantwal

    Mon, Jul 21 2008

    It is awesome.people from advanced country come to such a remote area which has very few basic amenities to extend their wholehearted support to this kind of nobble cause.the present generation pumping money on big shopping malls,super duplex cinema halls..etc. but very few (like these Dutch) look into the basic needs where coming generation to be academically equipped.

  • Stephen, Mangalore\Dubai

    Sat, Jul 19 2008

    It’s great to read these articles, where people are ready to travel and give any service to people in need and who are less fortunate. Congrats to the Dutch team who have travelled such a long distance to give their service and to know about India. But most of Indians here wants to have an easy going life, blaming others for their situation and for being unemployed. Indians are very poor in team work and in thinking positive.

    There are many places where we can give our service for a good cause. Present world needs our service not only towards Humans but also in protecting forest, environment, wildlife and endangered species around the world, which is at more threat today than any other point of time. “Humanity, in the desperate attempt to fit 8 billion or more people on the planet and give them a higher standard of living, is at risk of pushing the rest of life off the globe."

  • Mans van der Sluis, Nieuw Weerdinge

    Sat, Jul 19 2008

    It's nice to see and read the photo's and the commentary of all the people here. It gives me a great and thankfull feeling that these children do great work and that the given money for this project is spending good and that the people are thankfull for the work they do.

  • John Pereira /Kuwait , Mumbai India

    Thu, Jul 17 2008

    A big thanks to the Dutch Team for displaying your strenght of love

  • agnel n fernandes, kundapura/sharjah

    Tue, Jul 15 2008

    Well done and great going and a great job. Congrats to Dutch team and keep up the good work. They have definitely set a great example for all people around them of helping and giving support in the time of need.

  • Ravi Prasad Shetty, Dubai

    Tue, Jul 15 2008

    Nice to see some Dutch people are working for my old school in Siddakatte. I am one of the old student of this school.St Patricks HP School was one of the very famous school in Bantwal Taluk those days.I am travelling to Siddakatte next week & very eager to meet & congratulate Dutch people there.thanks Daiji for covering such a wonderful article.

  • Charles D'Mello, Pangala

    Mon, Jul 14 2008

    Our people wont work in India. They work or forced to work when then come out the place! Along with foreigners at least a few local youth have joined and the construction could have been completed and our youth could have gained global knowledge.

  • Jerre, Assen, Netherlands / Doha, Qatar

    Sun, Jul 13 2008

    It's nice to see that the Dutch are everywhere in the world, building a better place to live in. Go Team Netherlands!!

  • Janaki Devi, Managalore, Dubai

    Sun, Jul 13 2008

    Mr. R.Pai, Mangalore commented above is just right, most of our youths are either roaming/teasing around the city / just a burden for the family for not doing anything concrete even within their own home.Hai, Mangalore guys/girls both, currently on vacation, please join the team for helping hand. Let's all start from here to help one by one.

  • Louis, Bantwal

    Sun, Jul 13 2008

    This is part of their cultural immersion and we welcome them. However, if they have been called here to build a school, than it's a big shame for all of us. Their services are badly needed in the places like Iraq, Afghanistan and West Africa.

  • Ronald, Sharjah

    Mon, Jul 14 2008

    Our youth should learn from this, specialy those who are involved in vandalising activities.

  • Sharmila Fernandes, Mangalore

    Mon, Jul 14 2008

    Nice Work Dutch People are doing.Surprised to see the Educated Girls are doing such a Hard Work.In our country if a Graduate Girl/Boy does this kind of work,people will show their fingers on them.Why?...Why? is like this?..That's why we Indians are lagging behind.We Improved a lot compared to Olden days.But still we have to Improve a lot.Should not hesitate to work/Help for the good result.

    First of all We should not have any negative points in our mind. See those girls How they are working with the male Friends?If any girl among us does the same work What will be the result?Everyone will look at her in a Doubtful eating eyes?Am I Not Right?& Our Girls also Don't want such a hard work.Just Look at those people & learn.I too help the People(masons)In their Work sometimes.But my Mom scolds me Everytime saying that you are a grown up girl.U should not mix with them.But the work is really Enjoyable.I was getting a good sleep in night that time.Even feeling hungry.Let it be any work you should do it in a Positive way.B'coz WORK IS WORSHIP.

  • PATRICK, mangalore

    Mon, Jul 14 2008

    Hats off the the Dutch students who are at Sidhakatte helping the needy. They have an opportunity to feel the satisfaction of helping, knowing the pain and hardships of others. It is high time our children are exposed to the day to day activities where work can be associated with play.

    Now-a-days, children are with tv and computer through out the day and night. There should be atleast a two hour period in a week for outdoor games and activities.

  • Valerian Dalmaida, Mangalore/Abu Dhabi

    Mon, Jul 14 2008

    Kudos! Marvellous! One thing we lack is descipline in public life. We were desciplined in the school and we are desciplined at home too. But, when it come to public life we throw the descipline to air. We want descipline in driving, parking our cars,garbage generation and cleaning, pollutions of all kinds, specially of sound, talking and behaviour. This is all there in private life, but come public we are lost in the crowd. Come on India.

  • aruncrasta, bendur

    Mon, Jul 14 2008

    We should learn from these people hats off to them.


    Mon, Jul 14 2008

    Learning does not mean mugging-up, writing answers and score best grade marks. With our school system practical approach is lacking. Our teachers lecture system and failed to adapt practical approach to their teaching – like handling projects, field trips and encourage children read books.

    We have plenty of opportunity in India to lean. On the other hand, I like the approach taken by these Dutch children (building the school ) have adapted. It is not they love Indian children but it is part of their study. For sure they have learnt many things from this exercise. They have travelled to Asia, learnt Indian culture and life style. Hence, it is a project. Our children also go through take practical approach specially at engineering, management studies. Children in the middle East or India not allowed to work. Even parents object to assign small tasks like watering plants, helping parents in any form as they consider reading or study is high priority.

    I think those parents can learn something from Dutch students. Here in Canada, children are legally allowed to work at the age of 14 years. I’ve observed currently Calgary Stampede hundreds of school doing cleaning, sweeping, recycling job. Children understand needs of general public and other the other hand people also kind to them.

    Even they are allowed to work in super stores, cafes, any outlets so that they learn to manage their life. Hence, the age of 18 they are out from parents and live on their own. For sure, something need to be learnt from these Dutch without our bias minds. Bottom line : Ready to do any job when required and learning never stops.

  • R.Pai, Mangalore

    Sat, Jul 12 2008

    The true difference between any two countries is the people! Western world, for all its challenges of drug usage and broken families, still manages to maintain good civic sense among its citizens. This team highlights it. Meanwhile, I wonder what our youth in Bantwal or Mangalore are doing? Probably, they are roaming around the city streets on their bikes, doing nothing productive! India needs a big shift in thinking to move from 'developing' world to 'developed' world.

  • A.D'Cunha Shenoy, Mangaluru

    Sat, Jul 12 2008

    Indeed a leaf out of their book. Not because they are Dutch but humanity as a whole. Can India be a great country, we all Indians help each other in building the nation for one another. Its not only fabulous but exemplarary.

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