Poverty-stricken children in Africa now have a proper school in which to build their future thanks to the efforts of their peers in Bridlington.
Staff and pupils at Bridlington School spent 10 months raising £10,000 for the construction of Hope School at Kenema in Sierra Leone.
Bridlington School teacher, Mark Parker-Randall, spearheaded the project and was in attendance at the official opening of the new school last week, which was streamed live to pupils in Bridlington.
He said: “On Friday 23rd October 2015, with joyful thanksgiving and hope in their hearts, students, parents, local families, YMCA officials and staff members were joined by representatives from the Ministry of Education and Kenema City Council to celebrate and dedicate the official opening of the YMCA Hope Primary School.
“In the past, the children met for their education in a workshop area, back to back, side by side in each corner of the room. They did not have a school building of their own.”
Mark, who was guest of honour, addressed all who were gathered at the ceremony, and spoke of his own calling as a 14 year old school boy to one day serve the people of Africa.
He said his calling had now been realised some 36 years later, through the Global School Partnership between the YMCA Sierra Leone and Bridlington School.
Thanks to Mark and Bridlington School, pupils at Hope School now have access to a number of classrooms instead of the single room they were previously confined to.
Pupils raised money for the project through cakes sales, pushing wheelbarrows for water, non-uniform days and a seed challenge, in which each tutor was given £10 they had to ‘grow.’
The youngsters commented on how moved they were during the ebola epidemic, which orphaned many of the children they had been supporting.
Bridlington School deputy headteacher, Steve Willary, said pupils learned a variety of life lessons as they helped their African peers.
“They challenged their British values and have been able to understand values of other cultures,” he said.
“These initiatives clearly benefit the students in Kenema which we all recognise, but it also benefits our students greatly by being involved in projects like these, learning in a different context about different cultures and some of the issues faced by others.
“This isn’t the end of the project as our links will be there forever. This year our students have decided to fundraise for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
“It makes us really proud to be part of a community like Bridlington School when everyone pulls together to achieve something of this magnitude.”