Students at Ethiopian primary school move into refurbished classroom thanks to Shropshire fundraiser

Students at an Ethiopian primary school have moved into the first classroom to be refurbished following a major fundraiser in Shropshire.

Students at the Ethiopian primary school
Students at the Ethiopian primary school

In a first for the college, Acton Burnell's Concord College recently embarked on a unique whole-school fundraising challenge – hosting a virtual cycle to Lalibela Primary School in Ethiopia.

The challenge, ‘Pedal4Lalibela’, was a route of 8672km, cycled and rowed, spanning over 14 countries, as well as the English Channel and the Red Sea.

The challenge was designed by Concord geography teacher Steven Cale and biology teacher Matt Rawlinson.

Staff, students and the wider Concord community raised over £3,500 for a life-changing outcome for Lalibela Primary School.

Mr Cale, co-founder of Concord’s school charity, Soil of Amhara, said: “Money raised from the virtual pedal will be spent on refurbishment of four old, abandoned classrooms.

“With 1,900 students now and the school day split into segments to accommodate such numbers, we want to contribute to tangible changes – something that’s both beneficial for the current cohort and the future students of Lalibela.

“I’m delighted that the school director Ato Tesfalem has already sent us photos of the progress so far, renovating one of the classrooms back to use.

“Progress has been swift, firstly using soil and water to level the walls, then gypsum to finish the walls. The interior ceiling of the classroom has been fixed and metalwork has also been undertaken to repair damaged windows.

“Students at Lalibela were back in the first classroom even before enjoying the start of the Ethiopian Christmas holidays – traditionally celebrated on January 7.”

Concord student, Anika Lao, 18, on behalf of the college’s outreach society, said: “We are so grateful for all the donations and involvement from students, staff and parents.

“Not only has our shared kindness improved the children's study environment and future learning opportunities, but it has also brought us immense happiness and satisfaction to see the changes.”

In an email to the college Ato Tesfalem and the children of Lalibela Primary School have sent their shared thanks to all at Concord who have made this change possible.

Mr Cale added: “I look forward to seeing how progress develops as the hard work continues. I will now be sending more of the funds raised to use for other classrooms and painting.”

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