New Thulwane school is the second Swaziland school adopted by Bedales. Mbalenhle School, which Bedales has been supporting since 2007, was also visited by the students who helped to paint classroom exteriors. They also painted a giant mural of a world map at each of the schools.
The Swaziland visit was the culmination of a year-long fundraising initiative organised by the students achieving a total of £19,000. The money funded the water borehole, building supplies, paint equipment, piping and labour to get the water running at New Thulwane. Bedales students organised various events to raise the money. The most lucrative was the sponsored 20 mile hike across Hampshire, which raised £6,000. Other events included: cake sales, raffles, handicrafts sales and fun games such as ‘throwing a sponge at a teacher’.
Over the past six years, Bedales has supported Mbalenhle School through raising over £60,000 to fund new facilities including: a new hostel for the orphanage; better water supply; a library; dining hall; books, computers and other learning resources; and a free range poultry, cattle and vegetable farm to improve Mbalenhle school's self-sufficiency. It is hoped that similar improvements will be made at New Thulwane.
Since the initiative at Mbalenhle began, Bedales students have visited Swaziland every year, on a week-long self-funded trip, to help with the school project.
The students were accompanied on the visit by Bedales Design teacher Alex McNaughton, Chemistry teacher Lindsey Barnes, Art teacher Frances Vigars and Head of Maths Michael Truss. Commenting on the students’ experience, Alex said: “We were particularly excited this year to be embarking on another school improvement project in Swaziland. We had already funded the work on securing a borehole for the water supply and so the students and I were keen to get out there and lay the pipes to get water flowing at the school. It is very rewarding for the students to be part of the whole process to help the African schools – from raising the money, to buying the equipment and then helping dig the trenches to get water flowing. We are looking forward to the next phase of the project.”
For more information on Bedales' Swaziland schools project visit http://www.bedales.org.uk/
If you are able to support the project please visit the Just Giving site - http://www.justgiving.com/