As it says in our Project strap-line, we aim to gather, preserve and relate the story of the children of the Pestalozzi Children’s Village who arrived between 1959 and 1965 – i.e. the Europeans and the first Tibetans.
We want to remind everyone that this project is something that we (Willi and Leonard) are starting. This is not our personal project. It belongs to all of us. We sincerely want the results to belong to our whole community. We need to get it running first.
We also want to have an accurate story. The small amount of material that other people have written about our Village has often been inaccurate and poorly researched.
The fact that our community is dispersed across the world means that it will take some time and expense to compile these stories. Funding will be needed to achieve this. To this end, we’re applying for a grant from Heritage Lottery Fund to take us to the next stage. More about this further on.
Publishing the story
We hope to create a publication in the future – but not yet. This idea is a long way off. We think that its contents and appearance should be decided by our community when there is substantially more information gathered.
All material we collect will be stored and protected in our project archive at The Planned Environment Therapy Trust Archive and Study Centre (PETT).
PETT is a specialist and award-winning archive based in Toddington, Gloucestershire which holds records, oral histories and other materials of individuals and the organisations which have cared for them. This study centre is a resource used to research what works and what doesn’t in charitable childcare.
We spent time discovering how PETT works and we feel we have found an organisation that we can trust to care about our story and our records.
Importantly our archive will allow each individual to exercise personal control over what can be used out of any recordings they have made. Your story will be safe.
Want to know more? – ask us!
What we have achieved
We have achieved several things which are establishing us as a recognised project:
We have created a solid foundation for the future development of this Project. We are now seen as a credible organisation.
We have begun to collect oral histories and other material for our archive.
The Early Pestalozzi Children Project is now being more widely promoted – especially through our re-designed website and our contacts with other organisations.
We have been accepted by the UK Oral History Society to present a paper about our project at their 2014 annual conference.
We are seeking funding to continue and develop our activities. Without funding, our progress will be much slower.
What else is the Project doing?
Our first funded project will focus on the south and south-east UK – simply because there are more people and information that we can get to in this area. This will make it easier to gain funding. Once this is achieved, we will be able to spread our efforts to the rest of the UK and overseas.
We are searching for the “missing” Pestalozzi children. There are still 17 European children and many of the Tibetan children unaccounted for.
We plan to discover what old Pestalozzi records are accessible in the East Sussex Records Office.
We want to seek people who were supporters of the Village when we lived there: the people who visited; who donated or maybe were holiday families. We have discovered people on the internet who still remember selling ladybird pins for a shilling to support Pestalozzi. They may all have memories of our community.
We are also looking for alternative records. There are several “famous” or influential people who were very active in supporting the Pestalozzi Children’s Village. There may be personal records which document their involvement or interest in our Village which will be of relevance to us.
We continue to hunt for further ideas that will help us discover more information.
Finally, this is just a snapshot of our progress. We want you to know what we’re doing. If you have any questions or doubts – do get in touch: email us personally or via the website; phone us; write – or ask us to give you a call. Let us know what you think!
Willi & Leonard