SCHOOLS on Teesside (North East England) have been broadening their horizons with special visits by two African groups. The Lions of Zululand received rapturous applause from pupils at Acklam Whin Primary School after performing an exclusive concert.
It was part of a week of culture at the school, in which pupils learned about African culture through song, dance, art and language lessons.
Rachel Formby-Jackson, whose daughter Izobel is in year three, told Evening Gazette: “It has been a fantastic opportunity for the children because they are experiencing another way of life.” John Lees, headteacher, said: “It was an awesome experience and one which will remain with the children for many years.”
Year six pupil, Harry Hutt said: “I enjoyed the day very much because I found out about a culture and language different from my own.” Year six pupil Charley Walsh said: “I liked the singing workshop because the songs were really catchy. I also liked the dancing because it was good fun and different to the way I would normally dance.”
Meanwhile, Ugandan orphans brought the sights and sounds of Africa to Redcar. The four teenagers are all cared for by New Beginnings International, a Christian charity set up by former Marske man Chris Donnison and his wife Sarah. They’re on a mini tour of Teesside schools and churches, telling of their life in Africa and sharing their story through music and dance. When they dropped in at Redcar’s St Benedicts School, they were given £600 for the charity. And when one converts £600 into Ugandan shillings, it tops the two million mark!
As reported by the Gazette four years ago, the charity looks after about 80 children in Kampala, ensuring they are properly fed and educated. In 2004, the New Beginnings choir came over, followed by a smaller group in 2005. This time, just four youngsters came across, so they could talk in a more intimate setting about their lives.
But there was time for fun too, with the boys drumming and the girls dancing to authentic African rhythms.
The school has also given cash to Zoe’s Place and CAFOD.