A HEAD TEACHER from a village near Leeds has told of his pride after leading a charity project which has raised funds to build a new school for children in one of the world’s poorest countries in less than a year.
When Gordon Milne set his pupils the challenge of raising the money for a new school building in a remote part of Sierra Leone he did not expect to be opening it himself just eight months later.
Mr Milne, who worked in Leeds for more than a decade, is now the head of a private prep school in London. He still lives in East Rigton, near Leeds, and was formerly the head of the independent Richmond House School in the city for 12 years.
As head of Falcon School for Boys which is based in Richmond and Chiswick, in London, he set pupils the challenge of helping to raise £10,000 to support the charity Whererever the Need’s work in Sierra Leone.
Mr Milne said: “Their work in Sierra Leone falls into three areas. Providing clean water wells, composting eco-toilets and rebuilding schools. Many of the schools in the country are deteriorating, made from corrugated iron or in huts which can be destroyed by storms. We became involved because one of our parents used to do work with the Wherever the Need charity.”
David Crosweller from the charity gave an inspiring assembly and it was decided to make building a school in the village of Nyeyama, in Sierra Leone, the annual charity appeal for Falcon Boys. Within months the school had already raised enough to be able to guarantee hitting the target before the end of the year meaning the charity could start building work.
Now Mr Milne has jetted out to Africa to open the Falcon School Nyeyama himself in person. He said: “The money was raised from the fundraising of boys in years three to eight. Quite often when you give money to a charity you are not exactly sure where it goes and it can sometimes be difficult to raise money for projects in Africa because of fears some people have about corruption there.
“There is corruption in Sierra Leone but the charity Wherever the Need has been able to work closely with the MP in the area, Senesi Fawunda, who has ensured that the money and deliveries we have made have gone toward the school.
“It was a truly moving experience to see the money raised by the boys, and the entire school community, being put to such wonderful use. The pupils at Nyeyama are extremely ambitious and their desire to learn was incredibly inspiring. I was taken aback by the incredible community spirit in Nyeyama.”