Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert joined a fundraising lunch in Pulborough to raise money for a school in Sierra Leone on Saturday (17 January).
St Mary’s CE School in Pulborough has formed a strong link to a school in the city of Kenema in Sierra Leone, a country which is affected by the Ebola virus.
The link was encouraged by the Chichester Diocese and the connection has been made via the charity Education West Africa (EWA). The charity was founded by former teachers Rod and Penelope Sharman who live in Angmering.
Saturday’s lunch, which was organised by Pulborough resident Ruth Brown and held at Pulborough Village Hall, raised £1,300 for a school which St Mary’s is helping in Sierra Leone after Daisy Waring, a former teacher at St Mary’s, spoke about her visit to the school and shared some inspiring stories from her trip.
The link with the school in Sierra Leone provides the children of St Mary’s with the opportunity to learn about their responsibilities as a global citizens and understand how school life is different in one of the poorest countries in the world.
St Mary’s School has previously been raising money which has been added to by local and national companies to support the purchase of school desks, redecoration of the school, and uniforms. In Sierra Leone education is provided for free from the aged of six but only if children have a full uniform. The uniforms cost between £5 and £7, but this is the equivalent to a month’s food for many families in the country.
The school desks and uniforms are made locally to the school in Kenema and provides work for the families.
This year’s fundraising has a new and more urgent focus following the spread of the Ebola virus, which has caused the school to be closed. Money raised from the lunch will be spent on buckets, soap, sanitiser and chlorine to support improved hygiene to help prevent the spread of the virus.
A new well is also being constructed to provide clean water for the school, another way in which the spread of Ebola can be mitigated.
Basic food supplies, such as rice, will also be bought by the charity and distributed. The lock-down in Sierra Leone to try and limit the spread of Ebola, and a lack of farming and markets, is making food harder to get.
Pulborough resident John Denison who has also been actively involved with the charity. Four years ago John decided that he would celebrate his 70th birthday by walking 89 miles from Rye to Horsham in return for sponsorship.
His remarkable efforts have raised almost £2,500 for EWA. John has also made the trip to Sierra Leone to visit the schools in Kenema.
Ruth Brown said: “I think we were all moved by what our school children and their teachers told us about the situation in Kenema, and impressed by what they had already done to help the children there improve their own lives.”
Nick Herbert said: “I was very pleased to support this lunch for such a good cause. It’s amazing that a primary school has raised these sums for a charity, and very good for local children to understand the lives of others around the world.
“Hearing about the impact of Ebola on the school in Sierra Leone was a stark reminder of the terrible devastation which this disease has caused.”
Pictured Left to Right – Nick Herbert MP, Daisy Waring, Ruth Brown, organiser of the fundraising lunch, Alyson Heath, Headteacher of St Mary’s CE School, John Denison.
Report and picture contributed by The Rt Hon Nick Herbert MP.