Pupils get a walking experience of what it's like to live in Africa

Pupils with the visiting headteacher Braimah Haruna Bekayi from the school’s partner in Ghana

Pupils with the visiting headteacher Braimah Haruna Bekayi from the school’s partner in Ghana

First published in News Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Photograph of the Author by

POWERSTOCK pupils will be walking for 94 hours carrying two litres of water to raise money for Sport Relief 2014.

The idea for the challenge comes from headteacher Jean-Paul Draper who wants his students to have a much greater appreciation of conditions for children in the school’s ‘partner’ school in Ghana.

Their trek comes on top of work the pupils have been doing to appreciate what life is like for their African counterparts.

Powerstock has been linked with the school in Gbullung since 2000 thanks to then vicar Nerissa Jones and her husband David, who have just returned from a trip over there.

The school has now formalised its link through the British Council.

Hilary Bosworth from Action Aid has been to Powerstock and pupils now know that water carrying was one of the main chores for children – a fact they’ll appreciate more fully after their Sport Relief challenge.

Mr Draper said: “We wanted to link the physical activity and asked Google if you were in a car how long would it take to get from Powerstock to northern Ghana and it came up with 94 hours.

“We worked out if each child walked for 15 minutes a day for a week it would tot up to 94 hours.

“Then we thought we’d get them actually to walk with bottles of water to make them appreciate what’s involved.

“You can see a picture and think ‘oh yes that’s really heavy’ but until you do it yourself you don’t have that full empathy.

“We didn’t want to do just a general thing for Sport Relief but make the link with Gbullung more real.”

That link has also had a reality check thanks to another of Mr Draper’s ideas.

He sent pupils home with an iPod Touch and videod their lives and then – bravely – Mr Draper sent the iPod off to Ghana for pupils there to do the same. I madly sent this iPod out with David and Nerissa and they have taken some footage of what it is like in the school.

“In the past we have just sent letters and the odd photograph. There are some amazing shots of just walking around the school with the sounds and the colours, which you just don’t get from a photo.

“It has been fantastic.”

Mr Draper said it was inspiring to see what the head of the school had done in the eight years he’s been there. He said: “It used to be only five per cent of the students went on to secondary education, now it is 95 per cent and in a Muslim area half the pupils are girls.”

Children and parents will get a chance to see all the film footage from Gbullung on March 21 at 2pm and 5pm showings. Sport Relief is on this year from March 21 to 23.

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