STAFF and students from Sandhurst School are preparing for a trip to Rwanda after raising more than £50,000 to help victims of the country’s genocide.
The youngsters set up the Reaching Rwanda charity in 2007 after learning about the 1994 atrocities that left around one million people dead and many children orphaned.
Deputy headteacher Samantha Hunt said: “This event is very timely as 2014 will be the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda.
“Teenagers today often receive a very bad press, however, this group of young people have truly shown what it means to be a good citizen and to care for those who are less fortunate than themselves.” The school has also been raising money for the charity Survivors Fund (SURF) which provides support in a variety of ways including: l Providing cows, chickens, goats and training in animal care and husbandry to the orphans of Ntarama l Sponsoring 22 survivors to go to school and to enable them to financially support themselves in the future l Providing funding to set up 14 small businesses such as market stalls and a garden centre which provide an income for more than 70 survivors l Building a clean water facility in the village of Kamonyi, providing safe, clean, free water to more than 300 survivors.
The 17 Sandhurst pupils and adults will fly out to Rwanda on February 14 to meet the orphans the school is supporting.
Mrs Hunt said: “During the visit, there will be the opportunity to work in a school with our orphans, and to decorate and furnish two new houses for 10 homeless orphans.” The group will also deliver cows to widows of the genocide and create three new businesses to enable survivors to generate an income.
Mrs Hunt was nominated for a Pride of Bracknell award in 2008 after launching ‘Reaching Rwanda’ the previous year.
She added: “I believe this is a positive story showing that with just a little effort, you can change people’s lives forever.”