We believe that it important to enable children to appreciate how they can actively do something to make a difference to some of the people in the world who are in very difficult circumstances. The majority of children at our school come from affluent backgrounds and all of them live in one of the richest economies in the world. We don’t want children to feel in any way guilty about that. Neither do we want to make them feel hopeless by telling them about how very hard life is for so many of the children on our planet. We know that children see the news and find out about wars, natural disasters and the effects of poverty. Such news depresses us all. So we want to empower our children to feel that they can do something to help; that they can make a positive contribution.
We frequently raise money when there is a natural disaster somewhere in the world. So, for example, in 2014 following the terrible problems created by the Ebola epidemic in west Africa we set a challenge to link our two school sites by creating a golden thread of £1 coins. Our community raised £1,370 on a very rainy Friday morning. A beautiful, thin thread of ‘shinning gold’ created a symbol of hope at a time of great suffering.
We have also established a close link with Rusuzumiro Primary School in Rwanda. We have a secure way of ensuring that any money we raise for this school goes to exactly where it is intended. Each year we create opportunities for children and their parents to contribute to improving life for the children at this school. This includes a collection at our annual carol service. In May 2015 all children in the school took part in a sponsored run. A staggering £4,322 was raised and this money will be used to offer a meal for all 1,200 pupils at the school for at least 30 days of schooling. In December 2015 parents who attended our annual carol concert once again showed enormous generosity, raising over £2,000. At the Harvest Festival in October 2016 a staggering £2.136 was raised.
Since 2009 we have raised about £25,000 in all for Rusuzumiro. This money has been spent on purchasing such items as a much needed sewage pump; building a new washroom facility at the school; buying a photocopier machine; buying a laptop computer; buying school uniforms for students; purchasing shoes for 300 students and feeding a large number of students (who might not otherwise attend school). In 2013 Margo Rodrigo, one of our teachers visited the school. In the summer of 2015 she and Claire Marshment, another classteacher, made a second visit. Amongst the things they did was leading some professional development for the teaching staff there. A generous, technically gifted parent also travelled to the school with the aim of setting up an Internet based connection between the schools that will enable us to establish much closer communication. Further details about our partnership appear in the film below.