Taking our lessons out to Africa; Pupils who raised PS4,000 see how their efforts are helping kids in Gambia.
KIND-HEARTED pupils who have raised PS4,000 to buy much-needed bikes for African schoolchildren are visiting the country to see how their donations have been used.
Students from Middlesbrough's Trinity Catholic College have jetted out to Gambia as part of a charity project to provide schoolchildren with bikes. Over the last few months the school on Saltersgill Avenue has been raising money for the charity Jole Rider.
The charity gives bicycles, along with bike maintenance lessons, to youngsters in Africa because long travelling distances and a lack of reliable motor transport has been seen as a barrier to education. And this week four teachers and 18 pupils from Trinity college flew out to Gambia to see firsthand how the charity spends the donations that it receives.
During their week-long trip they will visit a school in Kartong, which is in the Gunjar region of the country, and will camp in tents.
Among the pupils on the trip is Siobhan Stacey. The 15-year-old said: "We just wanted to help the charity. I'm really excited about going because it really is going to be a once in a lifetime trip."
Eleanor Richardson, 15, said: "It's going to be fun experiencing a different culture. It's something I probably won't get to do again."
And 14-year-old Jack Hogan said: "It's much easier for us to get to school. I'm looking forward to visiting the school."
Staff and pupils at the school have already raised PS4,000 for Jole Rider - half of which came from taking part in the Boxing Day Dip.
And more money is expected to be raised throughout Lent and the course of the year.
Geography teacher David Cheshire, one of the members of staff who has gone on the trip, says he hopes the visit will help build links between the two schools.
Mr Cheshire, who will teach lessons at the school during his stay, said: "We are working with the charity Jole Riders which provides children with bikes so they can go to school.
"A lot of children there can't get to school because the journey is very far, or if they can they have to walk a couple of hours and leave early because of the distance.
"We heard about the charity as a Hartlepool school raises money for it too and we thought it was a great idea. We're planning on carrying on our fundraising for Jole Rider throughout the year."
Since delivering its first container of bikes in April 2006, Jole Rider has provided more than 10,000 bikes to African pupils.
| To find out more log on to http://jolerider.org/
IN AFRICA NOW: Teacher David Cheshire with, from left, Siobhan Stacey, 15, Jack Hogan, 14, and Eleanor Richardson, 15, at Trinity Catholic College ahead of their trip to Gambia, top
Picture by IAN MCINTYRE