Gateacre report on Project Phosela update

Back in 2018 students from Gateacre School visited Phosela in the Kingdom of Eswatini (formally Swaziland) as part of World Challenge. The World Challenge expedition saw the school assist a Neighbourhood Care Point (NCP) in Phosela, Swaziland. 

NCPs are set up by a member of that community, it is totally voluntary and gives the community’s orphaned children a place to go during the day. Unfortunately, these children are mainly orphaned due to lack of control over HIV and Aids. 

The children can only be accommodated overnight by other family members or members of the community. Sadly, they are then left to roam the area and scavenge whatever food they can find. 

Local woman, Thandazile started the NCP under a tree eight years ago, giving the children a place to meet, a meal and to also teach them some basic English. 

Having visited the village in the summer of 2018, students and staff helped to build a classroom and worked with the children. It was an emotional challenge for the team to see how little they had, both in school and out of school. There were no resources to teach with, not even a blackboard. 

Thandizile and two other ladies, Mumcy and Debbie, would spend up to six hours a day, on and off, in a smoke filed 2x2m corrugated iron shack with an open fire in it, preparing and cooking whatever they could for the orphaned group. This kindness also extended further to other children within the community and also the local builders, therefore, they would be trying to produce up to 60 meals out of local maize and sometimes vegetables. 

The school acquired an industrial stove, oven and prep table from Hilderthorpe Primary School in Yorkshire which was closing down. With contacts at Britannia Fleet, a shipping company based in Liverpool, Mal Fleet, the company director, generously donated a shipping container and covered some of the export cost and most importantly oversaw the logistics of the shipment. 

As well as the cooking equipment, a further package was sent to the village comprising clothes and shoes, safety building clothing, educational resources, toys and games, sports equipment, nursery resources (donated by Monkton Nursery, Mossley Hill, Liverpool), knitting supplies and sanitary products. 

After a 15-month effort, the shipment of clothes and resources finally arrived on the 16 October 2019. Due to the number of items the school had sent, the container had to be split and sent to the village in stages.  

Unfortunately, shortly after the first shipment a storm badly damaged the village, which was then quickly followed by the pandemic. Because of this, all movement stopped, until February 2022 when finally, the rest of the container arrived including the kitchen and a giant teddy bear.  

The school has also painted Gateacre’s school badge on the side of the building.  

Jane Thomas, assistant head of sixth form at Gateacre School said: “We are so grateful to have received these images and know that our friends are ok. It is a friendship that we hope to continue for many years to come.” 

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