Matthew Burns

SEDBERGH SCHOOL PUPILS WORK WITH RE-START IN KENYA

A team of eight pupils and three members of staff, Mr. Oliver, Mr. Swainson, and Miss Millard, headed to East Africa during the summer holidays to work with the charity Restart Africa.

The team included Emilia Tyser, Charlie Neate, George Phelan, Emily MacMillan, George Porter, Tom Savage, Jasmine Bracewell and George Bentley.

Sedbergh School’s links to Kenya extend back to 2012 when we welcomed our first four pupils from Pembroke House School. We now have 23 pupils from the School, which works closely with Restart Africa.

The charity is wide-reaching, with projects including employing young adults from impoverished backgrounds to make charcoal briquettes for fires to monitoring street children and providing a home in the Restart Centre for those children in the worst situations.

This year, approximately one hundred orphans have relocated to a new orphanage a short walk from Pembroke House, the nursery wing of which has been partly funded by Sedbergh School’s fundraising activity; the most eye-catching of which was Emilia Tyser (Deputy Head of School and Captain of the 1st XI hockey team) and Charlie Neate (winner of the women’s Wilson Run last year) completing the Wilson Run course dressed in animal ‘onesies’.

The Sedbergh party stayed at nearby Pembroke House School and worked with the orphans each day. On a visit to Lake Elementita, friendships were formed that would last all week, as Sedberghian shoulders were offered up as a preferable option to walking on foot for those with shorter legs!

The team also joined in with the orphanage’s sports day. Big Side outside backs George Phelan and Tom Savage were deployed in the shorter sprint races and the Wilson run expertise of Charlie Neate, Emily MacMillan and George Porter was applied to the slightly longer events.

Whilst their athletic prowess gave them a fighting chance against the lithe and energetic Kenyans the highlights of the afternoon included Jasmine Bracewell, George Bentley and “Sedbergh Kenyan” Jack Bonham entering the walking races with a variety of interesting techniques and Mr Oliver anchoring the staff relay team with aplomb. 

During the visit, the group had the chance to spent time in game reserves and saw giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, impala and buffalo.  They also took a bus into Gilgil to meet and provide food for the local children.  

Emilia Tyser, now Deputy Head of School, said: “For me, a lasting impression will be the mannerisms of the children and how those of the Restart children differed from the street children who were sleeping rough.

The former were full of smiles and joy; the latter seemed to have a sadness about them and what became noticeable was the absence of girls. We learned that most girls were kept at home to work, potentially to be abused or sold as prostitutes.

It’s really dangerous for them. Yet all of the children we met were so affectionate towards us and it was hard for us all to say goodbye. I definitely want to return one day.”

A full report will be published in The Sedberghian magazine.

For more information on Restart, visit www.restartafrica.org

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