The principal role of the Donhead Society is to encourage the aims of the 'Men and Women for Others' programme. A secondary, but also important function is to organise events and explore other means of raising funds to enable this work to be taken forward.
As a school community we are understandably proud of the achievements of Donhead - academic, sporting, artistic and musical – which come from developing the talents of all the students. But what makes Donhead special is that it is a Jesuit School, founded on the principles first established by St Ignatius of Loyola in the 16th century and continued to this day by the Society of Jesus. The Vision Statement for Schools of the British Province encourages us to:
- Help our students to engage with wider society in a spirit of generosity and active service and to ask 'what more can I do, what more can I give' in every area of life; and
- Develop partnerships between our schools and other schools in significantly deprived circumstances at home and abroad.
Partnerships with Jesuit Schools in Zimbabwe
Undoubtedly the highlight of the autumn term 2011 was the visit of 10 pupils and 5 members of staff from our partner schools in Zimbabwe, Hartmann House and St Peter’s. All the Donhead staff, parents and pupils made them so very welcome and it was a truly wonderful 10 days. The memories of the visit, and the certain knowledge that true friendship between our three schools has been firmly established, provide a good basis for our future partnership. The School Chaplain, Eileen Groenen, is building on the educational links we have with Hartmann House and has established a good exchange of information. Hartmann House recently sent us copies of reports which the boys had completed on their return to Zimbabwe. In contrast with Hartmann House, St Peter’s is in a poor area and our discussions with the Headmaster helped to identify the many needs of the school. Our links with Hartmann House and St Peters were further strengthened when the School Chaplain, Mrs Eileen Groenen and her colleague Mrs Penny Frost visited Zimbabwe in September 2010. The summer of 2012 saw another visit of ten boys and five staff from the companion schools, including one teacher and two Year 6 boys from St Peter’s Mbare. They were hosted with a Year 6 friend from Hartmann House. The high points of the visit included occasions when the Donhead, St Peter’s and the Hartmann House boys were working collaboratively, whether in Sports Day, praying and working collaboratively at Mass and Assemblies or on the programme of visits.
HCPT The Pilgrimage Trust
Donhead has its own group (Group 729) which provides helpers for the annual HCPT Pilgrimage to Lourdes. This Pilgrimage takes place in Easter Week each year. Typically, 2000 young people facing difficulties in their lives, accompanied by 3000 helpers, converge on Lourdes for a week of prayer, reflection, fun and games. The aim of Group 729 is to help give these children the best week of their lives. We feel it makes a very real difference and we encourage all our old boys and their sisters and relations, aged 16 and over, to volunteer their help on this week.
The Wimbledon Guild
Each year during Harvest Festival time, we collect tinned and packet food and toiletries for The Wimbledon Guild. Parents are always extremely generous and the food is delivered to many groups of people including, centres for the elderly, women’s refuges, homeless shelters, a club for people with mental health problems, family centres and the Wimbledon food bank.
Just before Christmas the families at Donhead put together gift-filled shoeboxes, bursting with joy, which are delivered to children living in parts of Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.