05 Dec 2012

Youngsters at a nursery school in The Gambia received a surprise parcel this month, after junior girls from Jesmond based Newcastle Church High School donated old uniforms to support pupils there.

The project came about after discussions led by the school’s Eco Council and following the introduction of Church High’s new uniform for junior pupils this school year.

Teachers, parents and pupils from Church High were keen to find a new home for the old uniforms, helping pupils aged between four and seven at Holy Cross Nursery School in Tranquil, Gambia, who are in desperate need of uniforms to attend school.

Susan Drought, Year 2 teacher at Church High, heard about the charity through a family member and suggested the ingenious way of lending a helping hand. She said: “Pupils, teachers and parents at Church High have all been extremely supportive of this wonderful cause, bringing in all of the girls’ old uniforms to send over to Africa.

“We didn’t want any of the old uniforms to go to waste and when this opportunity arose we knew it would be the perfect solution, helping children and tying in with our green ethos to keep the fabric in use and out of landfill.

“Providing the youngsters from Holy Cross Nursery in The Gambia with these uniforms will greatly benefit their learning experience, developing their self-awareness and the feeling of belonging that comes from wearing the same uniform as your peer group.

Judith Cunningham, Junior School head said: “At Church High we teach our girls from a young age about other cultures and helping and supporting children from the global community. It’s great that we have been able to develop links with schools such as Holy Cross and others around the world and we hope to create a longstanding association with them.”

Purchasing new school uniforms in developing countries is an expensive undertaking and countries such as The Gambia rely on donations to be able to offer children the education they so desperately need.

The dedicated team working at Holy Cross is passionate about fundraising and improving the lives of the children who live in some of the world’s poorer countries and support from schools such as Church High is vital for their cause.

Heidi Joynson, a Year 6 pupil at Newcastle Church High School and member of the Eco Council which focuses on the green issues at school, said: “It was good to find out more about the school that our old uniforms will go to and it’s really nice to think that other school children will have lots of fun and enjoyable times wearing them. I have learned a lot and I am so glad I have been able to donate my uniform.” 

Photo: (l-r) Gemma Lant (aged 9), Lara Brown (aged 8), Lucie Moore (aged 8), Isobel Heppenstall (aged 8), Abbey Cook (aged 9).