Pupils plan mercy mission to Africa

Teacher Ian Johnson shows Hetton School students Kallum Wass and Shannon Burnside where Tanzania is ahead of a planned visit to the African country in 2012.
Teacher Ian Johnson shows Hetton School students Kallum Wass and Shannon Burnside where Tanzania is ahead of a planned visit to the African country in 2012.
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CARING students are set to travel half-way round the world in a bid to help poverty-stricken youngsters in Africa.

An 18-strong team from Hetton School are expected to take the trip to Tanzania, in the south of the continent, to support struggling communities.

Teacher Lisa Paget said they will help plant crops, take part in volunteer projects and work with local students.

She said: “We chose Tanzania for our trip as it is not a big tourist destination, such as South Africa and Kenya. We thought the students would get a real African feel if tourism was not prominent.  

“It is also one of the poorest countries in the world and 80 per cent of people work in agriculture.

“We felt that if we wanted to make a difference to anyone, then it would be the poorest.

“One of the main things we aim to do is create a vegetable garden for a school because at the moment many students do not have the necessary variety of food to stay healthy. For some, the school meal is the only one they get.”

However, in order for students to take make the supervised journey next year, they need to raise more than £3,000 each to cover costs.

“Pupils were selected for this visit just before the summer holidays and since we returned in September we have raised just short of £10,000 as a group,” said Miss Paget. “Many students have carried out work to raise more money. Some pupils spent part of their summer washing cars. Another pupil spent his summer doing odd jobs.

“Over the last few months, another pupil and his family have been holding tombolas and coffee mornings and, to date, have raised over £1,000.

“However, we’re still looking for more donations and we’d appreciate any help we can get.”

Anyone who wishes to donate funds, raffle prizes or venues for charity events can contact Lisa or Julie Chalk on 553 6756.