Horsham pupils support vulnerable youngsters in Zimbabwe

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A group of Horsham pupils have braved sleeping outside to raise funds for vulnerable youngsters.

Seventeen pupils from Christ’s Hospital spent three cold nights camping outdoors in the grounds of the school.

They raised funds to build a boarding hostel for vulnerable pupils at Kafusi High School, Zimbabwe during the challenge, from November 13 to 16.

Adeola, a pupil who took on the challenge, said: “Camping outside wasn’t easy. It really showed how crucial our boarding houses are to our lives and how vulnerable one can be sleeping outside with unexpected weather and events.”

The year 13 pupils attempted to continue with all the rhythms of their academic life, without the comforts of their usual boarding house.

Lennox, who has been selected for the England U18 Rugby Squad, added: “Rugby training is a piece of cake compared to trying to live one’s life out of a tent!”

The school, in Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe, has recently achieved sixth form status.

This means students from around Matabeleland are keen to enrol on A-level courses with some travelling hundreds of miles.

However the school has no boarding provision, so many resort to what Zimbabweans call ‘bush boarding’.

They enrol at the school and find a place to sleep where they can, either with friends or sometimes outdoors in vulnerable places.

The Christ’s Hospital pupils aim to raise £20,000 for a girls’ boarding hostel at Kafusi.

Helena, the student who organised the event, said: “The fact that we even had a tent to sleep in – no matter how many spiders or leaks or (what felt like!) sub-zero temperatures we suffered – was still a privilege in itself with so many young people out there with no roof over their head.

“To feel like you are not just simply pitying, but actually doing something about a problem, no matter how small your target point, is incredibly motivating yet humbling.”

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Christ’s Hospital, through its chapel charity fund, has been supporting the community around Kafusi for several years.

In 2011, working with the Zimbabwean poet and musician Albert Nyathi, it helped establish a cooperative community garden called Thuthukani, close to the school.

The project has grown into a community resource that feeds the community and raises money for it from surplus food sales.

This has had a life-changing effect for many of the inhabitants of this area of Matabeleland.

In recent months, the project expanded to create a partnership with Kafusi High School.

In the case of Thuthukani, the Christ’s Hospital community has raised funds to help the Kafusi community help itself. The same applies to the proposed girls’ hostel – donations will be made in the form of materials, and the community has undertaken to provide the labour to bring the project to completion.

All donations received will be processed by the Christ’s Hospital chapel charity fund.

So far £3,361 has been raised. To donate see www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/chkamping4kafusi

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