West Chiltington fundraising campaign shows world in union

Pupils at Wehoya School
Pupils at Wehoya School

Committed to teaching their pupils about different cultures, and continuing the partnership with Wehoya School in Kenya, West Chiltington Community School has launched a fundraiser to bring Brendah, a Kenyan teacher, over to visit this autumn.

The partnership between the two schools began in 2011, when British Council funding enabled teachers from both nations to visit and work with one another. In February 2018, two teachers from West Chiltington Community School spent a week at Wehoya School – a primary school in Kitali, western Kenya.

Due to funding reductions, the British Council no longer funds return visits by the African partner school.

On their visit to Kenya, deputy headteacher Helen Drummond, and Year 1 teacher Hannah Woollard, were warmly welcomed at Wehoya. At first glance, the school has nothing in common with the West Sussex village school – with around 1,000 pupils, and up to 90 in each class, compared to a total headcount of 200, and 20–30 children per year-group at West Chiltington.

They share one important goal, to care for the well-being of every single child.

Helen Drummond, deputy headteacher at West Chiltington School said: “It was a truly humbling experience to be welcomed so warmly at Wehoya School.

“The enthusiasm shown by all the children there – their dedication and love of learning, was inspiring.

“The teachers are doing an incredible job, despite the large class sizes and limited resources, and we just wish we could have stayed longer.”

Hannah Woollard added: “It is clear to us how important the partnership is to both schools, and heartwarming to see our pupils engage with this. The children have really taken the cause to their hearts and are learning that they can make a difference.

“We couldn’t be prouder of them and the dedication and enthusiasm they have shown to fundraising to bring Brendah over to visit.”

Since the visit, Helen Drummond and Hannah Woollard have spent time talking to other members of staff, school governors, parents, and to pupils, about Wehoya School.

Positive feedback and support has been crucial to the success of the fundraising.

The bring Brendah over campaign kicked off in April and the school has already raised over £1,000 of their £1,850 target. The children have embraced the challenge and come up with various ways to raise money, including selling toys and books, running a raffle, writing to local businesses to seek support, and organising a sponsored run.

Following the most recent fundraiser, a children’s cake-making competition, Brendah sent a video message to thank all the pupils, teachers and parents for working so hard to make her visit to West Chiltington Community School possible.

Julian Rose, headteacher at West Chiltington Community School, said: “The idea that children should all be celebrated as individuals is central to our ethos at West Chiltington Community School, which is why we believe that teaching them about differences, such as culture, race, language and traditions, is crucial to their development.

“All of us at West Chiltington School sincerely believe that teaching young children about diversity encourages them to respect and celebrate differences in all people.

“I really value our partnership with Wehoya School. It enables us to introduce another culture to our children, giving them a better understanding of the world and preparing them for the future in our changing society. I strongly believe that reciprocating the school visit and bringing a teacher from Wehoya School over to the UK will enrich our pupils’ education.”

For more about the school, call 01798 813319 or visit www.westchiltschool.com