Shropshire students create life-changing outcomes for pupils nearly 9,000km away

Facilities at a primary school in a desperately poor community nearly 9,000km away have been transformed by a Shropshire college’s students.

Lalibela Primary School pupils
Lalibela Primary School pupils

For the students at Acton Burnell-based Concord College collectively cycled and rowed virtually, 8672km, to Lalibela Primary School in Ethiopia.

The challenge, Pedal 4 Lalibela, was to raise much-needed funds to make huge improvements to the facilities at the school.

The massive refurbishment has created life-changing outcomes for the 320 pupils who can now comfortably and safely use four classrooms which were previously uninhabitable.

The girls’ toilet block has been renovated, new doors added, walls fixed and painted.

The toilet block is now also double sided allowing more space and the female pupils have comfort and privacy.

The third major improvement at Lalibela Primary School has been to the night school building used to help accelerate the learning opportunities for the more academically gifted pupils.

Each day approximately 100 pupils use the building.

The classroom block

Before the support, it had a dirt floor and mud walls which were precarious, dark and uncomfortable.

Through the fundraising the floor was concreted and the structure made more permanent with fixings and an added layer of cement.

By the end of this week it will also be painted.

Steven Cale, a geography teacher at Concord College who is co-founder of its charity Soil of Amhara which supports Lalibela Primary School, said: “All of this was only possible because of the kind donations of students, staff, parents, alumni and the wider Concord community.

“We have forged good links with the school and its leaders and we are looking at more ways to help them and further strengthen our relationship.

“Ideas include tree planting to educate about the value of healthy eco-systems, solar power in rural villages so that students can still study after the sun has gone down in the evening, and other village schools will need more capacity too.”

He added: “Soil of Amhara is now an official registered charity and I hope Concord students will continue with us on this journey of supporting pupils in the Amhara region.”

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