Hope Walk 2018

Following their commissioning as Young Bridlingtonians last April by the former Mayor, and Old Bridlingtonian, Cllr Liam Dealtry, as reported by the Bridlington Free Press on Wednesday 26th April, 2017, Bridlington School students have been stepping out in partnership with the Old Bridlingtonians to raise £23,500 needed to lay the foundation and build an additional three classroom block for their partner ‘Hope Primary School’ in Kenema, Sierra Leone. Since last April 2017 a total of £13,000 has been raised and it is hoped as a result of this that the laying of the foundation for the new classroom block will be in place before the rainy season begins in Sierra Leone next month.

Mark Parker-Randall, Lead Teacher for the Global School Partnership at Bridlington School said, “When I first visited Sierra Leone in October 2014 as part of a teacher exchange through the British Council Connecting Classrooms programme, and more specifically Kenema, I witnessed first-hand that 75% of the children in that community were school going age but due to a lack of primary educational facilities many of those children were not able to go to school or gain an education, thereby preventing them from gaining the knowledge, skills, teaching and learning  needed to be able to move out of their desperate poverty. It was then that I knew in my heart the real reason for my visit; I had to get a school built for the children there. I came back home and shared my heart with our school students and staff, and they too were of the belief that this is what we should collectively do.”

The finance was raised by the students and staff of Bridlington School and Hope Primary School was built and opened on 23rd October 2015 when the country was struggling with the ebola outbreak. Throughout that terrible and devastating time, HOPE was literally being built before the community’s eyes. The school currently comprises three classrooms, a storeroom, an office and toilet, with a recent addition being a fresh water well for the whole community within the school grounds.

YMCA Sierra Leone National General Secretary, Christian Kamara, says “Given the high demand for good quality primary educational locally, there is an urgent need to build more classrooms to better accommodate more children. With an additional three classrooms, the school will be equipped with a total of 6 classrooms meaning that they will be able to accommodate Years 1-6 in a specifically designated learning space for each Year Group at Hope Primary School.  Currently, the remaining children who do not fit into the existing three classrooms are taught in small workshop space that is not conducive for effective learning as there is no proper lighting and there are no windows.”

With over 200 children now attending the school, a significant number being ebola orphans, there is a need to get the additional classrooms built as soon as possible so that all the students can access quality education and are able to learn in a safe and secure learning environment. Education is the greatest treasure the children have. It is hoped that the remaining £10,500 can be raised very soon so that work can begin on the structure at the end of the rainy season this October in time for completion and opening by next Easter 2019.

Mr Parker-Randall said, “Easter is all about new life, new beginnings and hope for a better future. Our Year 7s are stepping out on a collective 500 mile sponsored walk today not only to raise the much needed funds to achieve our finance target, but also to very visibly encourage others within the local community to take their lead and to step out and make a difference in our world for the greater good of humankind.”

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