If Charlemagne one day had the crazy idea of ​​inventing the school, three former students of New Eton College wanted to found an association of “Old Boys” resolutely turned towards social issues.

It’s an Old Boys’ Association unlike any other. In their veins flows the “New Eton Blood,” and in their hearts, the deep desire to contribute to a better community. “We didn’t want it to be an alumni association that meets up for a snack every now and then, but to share our piece of the pie with the most vulnerable,” says Shekar Conhyea, the driving force behind the New Eton College Old Boys Association (NECOBA), founded in 2018.

“Our aim is to help the most vulnerable in society and provide them with the necessary assistance,” adds Shekar Conhyea, whose two accomplices are Satchu Samynaden and Kavi Jawaheer. The three friends, who met again after 35 years, are behind the creation of NECOBA. They initially wanted to reunite their friends from their college years, those with whom they had shared their teenage lives.

Gradually, the group consolidated itself through social networks and a communication platform. They were thus able to create a network of alumni and teachers to support not only the students of the establishment, but also to provide assistance where the need arises.

“We don't just get together for parties among ourselves,” says Tony Padnamapadoo, a former student and educator who taught several generations of students at New Eton College from 1974 to 2020. The driving force behind NECOBA lies in its ability to organize social activities for the well-being of society, he explains.

And to specify that the association “pa get figir”, providing support to all those in need without distinction. “We do not only help the members or students of the college, this is what makes our strength and our difference”, affirms Tony Padnamapadoo.

This beautiful human adventure is consolidated from year to year through the various social activities that the alumni association has organized so far. Among these initiatives, we find the organization of the award ceremony for a laureate of the establishment in 2018, Irfaan Caunhye.

NECOBA went further by supporting a student of the establishment who was suffering from intestinal cancer while the country was facing the COVID-19 pandemic. A sum of Rs 400,000 was thus raised so that he could undergo an operation. Today, the child is doing well. NECOBA also provided him with the necessary materials for his studies so that he could realize his dream of becoming an architect.
A donation of school supplies and clothing was also organized with the aim of providing support to the most vulnerable in the college and helping them in their studies. “We support the students of the establishment who are in need so that they can progress and succeed in life,” explains Shekar Conhyea.

new eton
From right to left: Tony Padnamapadoo, Shekar Conhyea, Daneshwar Doobree, President of the Republic Prithviraj Roopun and Kadress Moothoosamy, Dean of NECOBA (1953 cohort).

According to him, most of the students at New Eton College came from modest families and were able to succeed in life, working in various professional fields with multiple skills. Today, they want to share what they have received. “We want to share our piece of the pie with those who need it.”

NECOBA's aid tentacles do not stop at the students of the Rosehillian school, however. The association also supported a girl from an eastern village who aspires to work as a scientist at NASA. Intelligent and diligent in her studies, she could not, however, study in optimal conditions, coming from a precarious background. She slept in rather difficult conditions.

NECOBA then took the initiative to finance the construction of two additional rooms in her parents' house so that she would have the necessary comfort to study. She also received school materials, a donation of clothes, a bed and a mattress, as well as a desk so that she could study in better conditions. The association was rewarded with the 7 units that the young girl brought back to the School Certificate exams. She is currently continuing her studies and will compete for the Higher School Certificate (HSC) exams.

NECOBA’s commitment extends to other social activities, including blood drives. The first one, held shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic, yielded 137 pints of blood. The most recent one, held towards the end of June, yielded 144 pints of blood. A food donation was also organized for a family in a locality on the outskirts of Port Louis. “Where there is a need in society and people need our support, we organize among ourselves to raise funds,” explains Shekar Conhyea.

Following these various activities, NECOBA wants to go even further. The association is considering creating a foundation in order to better support those in need. According to Shekar Conhyea, “we are currently studying this possibility by reviewing all aspects. If it is conclusive, we will form a foundation.”

Back to the sources

On June 23, NECOBA took up the challenge of bringing together, for a day of recreation and fraternity, the different cohorts of students from 1955 to 2020. Of the 435 members of the association, 225 responded favorably to the invitation, including the President of the Republic Pradeep Roopun.

This is how generations of former students and teachers from 1955 to 2020 returned to the classrooms and courtyard of New Eton College. On the agenda: reunions, board games and sports activities punctuated by a lunch where laughter and sharing were also on the menu. This great moment of reunion was an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of fraternity between the members of the association, says Shekar Conheya.

Tony Padnamapadoo, who has spent almost 52 years of his life at the school that he has seen evolve, confides that the emotion was palpable, and that some eyes were wet. “It was very moving to meet several students from different age groups. It is an event that we have wanted to organize for a long time,” he explains. He hopes that during the next meetings, a greater number will be able to make the trip because everyone can contribute their stone to the building.

The former teacher says he is proud that many students have been able to find their place in society and are now occupying high positions. He is also happy that each one has remained humble, regardless of the position they occupy today. “Despite their professional position, no one was big-headed on the day of our big gathering which was a very fraternal meeting,” says Tony Padnamapadoo.

For him, the sense of brotherhood is part of the DNA of the establishment. “It is not just the fact of having belonged to the same establishment that unites us, but the 'New Eton Blood'.”

Old Boy Daneshwar Doobree is also delighted with the “great success” of the NECOBA gathering on June 23. “The gathering gave us the opportunity to rekindle and revisit our good old days at New Eton College with much pleasure, joy, emotion and nostalgia,” he says.

Participants ranged from the 80-year-old Dean, Kadress Moothoosamy (1953 cohort), to the newest class. “Our former professors were also present,” he said, adding, “The cherry on the cake was the presence of the President of the
Republic “.

According to him, “the presence of nearly 225 NECOBA brothers, from all generations, created a genuine bond between the members: friendship, compassion and love beyond the intellectual concept.” This is the reason why the association wants to publish a souvenir magazine “to immortalize our major events”, including a special message from President Prithviraj Roopun.

The mission of NECOBA

  1. To encourage the gathering of New Eton College alumni on a common platform in order to create a collaborative dynamic.
  2. To provide financial support for specific projects for the benefit of New Eton College students, both for indoor and outdoor sports activities.
  3. To provide moral and financial support to New Eton College students in precarious situations.
  4. To raise awareness among New Eton College students about social and environmental issues, such as the fight against the proliferation of drugs and environmental protection.
  5. To promote human values ​​among students at New Eton College and to highlight the importance of personal integrity and ethical behaviour in society.

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