Number 8 Network’s day was made when this photo was sent in. Back in August we ran a story about ESOL teacher Gayle Pearson wanting a little help sewing fabric bags for African school children.
Readers of N8N and Hamilton News stepped up and 170 bags were made and delivered to Abby Fisher, who is teaching English to the students who had been sharing just one school bag between them in their rural village of Bwengu.
Abby had previously volunteered in Gayle’s Hamilton ESOL class, coming in every week for about nine weeks and wanted to do something for her in return. “She was returning to Africa and told me the children needed bags to put their school books in – all the books went home with one individual, making it hard to do homework,” said Gayle.
So the call went out, and in very little time the bags were sewn up from a range of fabric and sent to Africa with Abby’s mother.
Abby says it was great fun distributing the bags. “It was so nice to see their reaction and the smiles on their faces, they were so excited by the presents and send many thanks.”
The children wore the bags with pride all day and all the way home to their villages, showing them off to any passers-by, she said.
“The older students laughed when they received them – previously they had used plastic bags, bread bags, empty sugar bags and even an empty potato sack! I received a lot of clapping and cheering for that.”
Every student in her standard 3 and 7 classes – and five of the hardest working students from the other classes – received their own bag with an item of stationery inside.
She said to some people it might seem a small thing. “But I saw that it meant a lot more than just that to these kids. And with all the new changes in education policies, budget cuts and lack of funding, it’s important to see that these kids are proud of their school and proud of the education they are receiving and are rewarded and encouraged for this.”
Other teachers at the school also passed along their thanks. “They acknowledged just to come together and make these for the school is not an easy thing to do and they truly appreciate it.”
The students were now very happy to be at school – “Having something nice to carry their work in helps. So huge thank yous and even huger God blesses from the staff as well.
“I can’t express how grateful I am, many thanks to all who made this possible.”