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St Mary's students carry on the good work in Africa
Sixth formers from St Mary’s Catholic High School in Menston with students from Mnyankanya School in the rural Nkandla area of South Africa celebrate their reading festival
Fourteen sixth formers from St Mary’s Catholic School in Menston continued the good work of an international partnership over the summer.
The group of students from the school, on Bradford Road, visited Mnyakanya School in the Nkandla region of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, to work with schoolchildren as part of the acclaimed continuing Bambisanani Partnership.
Over the past seven years, St Mary’s has developed the unique partnership with a school in one of South Africa’s poorest rural areas.
The Bambisanani Partnership, which develops collaborative work between the two schools and wider community, uses sport as a catalyst to promote education, leadership, health and global understanding.
This visit was led by assistant headteacher and founder of the partnership David Geldart supported by Martin Green and Amanda Murphy from St Mary’s and Kevin Emsley, Chairman of law firm Lupton, Fawcett, Lee and Priestley.
The students were: Lizzie Banks, Ryan Clarke, Kavindu Appuhamy, Patrick Connolly, Emily Fieldhouse, Elizabeth Garnett, Michael Jones, Freya O’Connor, Jade Rigby-Williams, James Riley, Hannah Smith, Chloe Tindale, Madeline Tysoe and Charles Walker.
The Nkandla region is in the heart of Zululand and is extremely deprived, with 90 per cent unemployment, 60 per cent adult illiteracy and one of the highest HIV/Aids rates in the world, with one in three adults infected.
Mnyakanya School is relatively poorly resourced, with classes of 60-plus. Yet, despite this, the school offers an oasis of hope, to which many students walk two hours to attend.
Four students from the well-resourced Eshowe High School were invited to join the Bambisanani Leadership Programme for the week with St Mary’s and Mnyakanya students.
During the visit, St Mary’s students, supported by Eshowe students, mentored 20 Mnyakanya students through the Bambisanani Leadership Course.
Students from all three schools to jointly organise and deliver a cricket and rugby themed sports festival and a Reading Festival for 92 children from Ntolwane Primary School.
Whilst at Mnyakanya, St Mary’s students also taught a range subjects and activities to students including: Maths, Science, History, Chess, Dance, Football, Rounders and Netball.
The St Mary’s team brought with them much needed equipment for Mnyakanya School including books for the Bambisanani Library (opened three years ago), calculators, and resources for art, science and sport.
The final day culminated not only in the Festivals but also in a remarkable celebration event at Mnyakanya. At this event 20 Mnyakanya students proudly received the Bambisanani Leadership Award in recognition of completing the course: Another annual award was also presented in memory of Sbonelo Magwaza, a Mnyakanya student who also died three years ago. The award this year was won by Zinhle Zondi and presented by Sbonelo’s uncle Bernard Mawaza who is the Security Guard and Football Coach at the School.
At St Marys, the award was won by Brogan O’Connor and presented earlier in the year.
The St Mary’s team spent time working at the Zulufadder Orphanage Day Care Centre, that supports and cares for HIV/Aids orphans and vulnerable children throughout Kwa Zulu Natal.
The team were joined at Zulufadder by fellow St. Mary’s students Joe Doonan and Daniel LeRoux. Joe had visited South Africa in 2012 as part of the St Mary’s group and was so inspired that he vowed to return as a volunteer at Zulufadder and in rural schools for three months before going to University.
Daniel has family in South Africa and was keen to support the partnership by volunteering at Zulufadder, again before starting University.
For more details, visit bambisananipartnership.com.