18 October 2018
Team Talbot Heath took part in the Bournemouth Marathon Festival weekend last week, for the fourth year running, to fundraise for their partner school Hanika, in Rwanda, and for Godrey’s Village of Hope in Rwanda. The fundraising will benefit the poorest pupils’ education who could not otherwise aspire to achieve work in the future, as seen during the school visit earlier this year.
So far, over £2,500 has been generously donated online, thanks to the 203 runners who formed Team TH, which was comprised of pupils, staff, governors and parents. Many others from the school community supported, in spite of the dreadful weather to cheer and help supervise. Six different races were represented over the weekend, from the kids kilometre to the half marathon, the latter included school governor and former TH pupil, Clodie Sutcliffe.
Madame Klemz thanked everyone for their continued support and enthusiasm: ‘It was another year of tremendous community spirit, fun and of course fundraising. We have raised £22, 000 in the past 4 years, now we are hoping to bring the total to £28,000 this year when all the pledged money has been gathered. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far.’
Congratulations and grateful thanks to everyone who got involved. Particular thanks go to Anne Klemz and Jo Brown for organising Team TH. Photos can be viewed on the news feed and gallery on the school website as well as information on how to donate.
THE STORY BEHIND THE FUNDRAISING
I recently returned from 10 days in Rwanda with 4 Sixth Formers and 2 colleagues, Mrs Smart and Mrs Moran. In the back of my mind was the thought that this trip would be a good time for me to pass on the Run for Rwanda baton to someone else. A time to close a chapter on time consuming fundraising efforts on top of our already very busy daily lives. A perfect end to what I considered to be a job well done. I was wrong.
We spent time with the most destitute yet giving, happy, enduring and loving people: a truly humbling experience. I can now put faces to places and my head is full of memories of what a difference our fundraising efforts have made through the Run for Rwanda and other school initiatives to their daily lives: the water tanks, the computers, the roof to the girls’ dormitory, the clothes we distributed, the classroom supplies and books. Needless to say that instead of closing a chapter, it’s opened a new one.
We visited our partner school where conditions are so basic we probably wouldn’t use them for storage. The paved area outside the girls’ dormitory is festering with sewage and a nest for mosquitoes and bugs making Malaria a daily threat. The walls are bare brick; the roof is corrugated iron and the floor earth. The classrooms are so basic we wouldn’t use them as a shed. However, these children are the lucky ones because they get to go to school. Many of the children attending the school get up at 5 in the morning in order to walk for two hours on their own in order to attend. However around half the children don’t attend school because their help is needed. Despite all this hardship, the welcome we were given was quite incredible. For example, we walked through the countryside and spent entire days with families who allowed us to take part in their daily routine: this included walking to fetch water from the spring half an hour away three times a day, hoeing, collecting grass to feed the family livestock. It was a real privilege to meet these people and to share their experiences, listen to their stories. All of them had been affected by the genocide in some way: many lost one or numerous members of their family, are living with HIV as a result of rape, their heads still full of the horror they witnessed just a few years ago. Disease and malnutrition is part of their daily lives. In one of the photographs I have attached, you will see our Sixth formers making a fresh bed for a 2-year-old girl who is desperately ill with both HIV and Malaria. They are trying to make her comfortable because being seen by a doctor is out of the question.
These living conditions prompted Godfrey to give up his position as a teacher and work to make a difference in his community. He is without a doubt the most incredibly giving human being I have ever met. He began the Village of Hope:a cooperative of 80 odd families living with HIV, 380 children, all living in desperate conditions yet determined to pull through by working so hard on trying to become self-sufficient. Godfrey has adopted 7 orphans since the Genocide and provides vegetables to the children suffering from malnutrition. Instead of punishing the thieves who stole bananas from his plantation, he gave them seeds so that they could go and grow their own. He built a mud brick house for a widow who looks after her murdered sisters three children, he provides milk for the children of people seeking asylum in his village. In fact, the list of what he does on a daily basis is endless.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I now feel more attached to these people than ever and am compelled to help them more with the help of the Talbot Heath community.
There are two areas which as a school we need to focus on. Our partner school, now called Hanika, and Godfrey’s Village of Hope. In our partner school, we would like to pay for the poorest girls to attend this school for 3 years, at the end of which they would have a qualification allowing them to find work. We would also like to re concrete the festering paved area outside the girls dormitory.
Godfrey is developing a fish farm both to feed his community and to make money for the cooperative. Large fishnets would really help him here. 10 tons of rime to add to the soil of the farming land would make it far more fertile and therefore more productive. At the moment, the soil is very acidic.
These small but significant initiatives would all make a difference to these people’s lives. I would like to ask you to please sign up for the Run for Rwanda and try to raise a minimum of £50 either through the Just giving link below or by using the attached paper copy. You could also open your own just giving account. Together, as a community, we will make a real difference.