A once-in-a-lifetime trip to South Africa to work alongside children from the poorest backgrounds is now less than a week away for six excited students who have been on a fundraising frenzy to cover all necessary costs.

The dedicated Sixth-Formers will join 18 others from our ESF sister schools and six members of staff to travel to Tembisa Township, near Johannesburg, on 1 July to work with children in a local pre-school and primary school – the same area as the primary school whose construction is being funded by our EC25 appeal.

For our students, it will be a unique and life-changing experience to see the reality of life for the children of the township, many of whom are HIV positive or Aids orphans. They will work alongside the children in school, teaching lessons, leading sports, taking assemblies, helping at a holiday club, and generally using their gifts and talents to enrich their lives – despite not speaking the children’s native language, Xhosa!


The fundraising response to this latest project has been fantastic once again: we have raised £6,000 to help send our six students to South Africa, and an additional £5,000 for the primary school in Tembisa. It truly has been a fundraising frenzy, with everything from a Coast-2-Coast bike ride to cake bakes, an evening with A Taste of Persia to ‘Make A Difference Week’ – five days dedicated to fundraising for South Africa.  Bradley Pentolfe, one of the six students travelling to Tembisa, shares some of the highlights of the week…

South Africa quiz and prize

In order to raise extra money for the South Africa Team 2017, I worked with Charities Coordinator Mrs Lisk to prepare a hamper and quiz.  The goods included a £20 Metro Centre voucher, movie tickets and a wide variety of sweets and chocolates to boot, all to entice passers-by – students and teachers – to pay a mere £1 for a chance to win; talk about fantastic odds!  Sounds great doesn’t it?  Wish you had joined in now?  Well, maybe it was a better idea to sit it out; the quiz was no piece of cake.  With questions about South Africa itself and the charities involved with the project, along with a very limited amount of time in which to complete it, it’s no wonder that so many found it difficult to get all the questions right.  Eventually, it was a well-deserved Mark Schweitzer who won the grand prize; congratulations to him, and to everyone else involved for being so generous!


Whilst the quiz was impressive, the Dance-Off was completely astonishing, drawing in an extremely large crowd and raising a staggering £674.76, which has been shared among members of the South Africa Team to help them towards their target of £1,000 each in order to go to Tembisa.  But that wasn’t the only impressive thing about the Dance-Off; we can’t forget the competition itself!  The English Department vs the Science Department, in a head-to-head, dance-till-you-drop competition, featuring Mr Osman and Mr Stewart for the Science Department, up against Mrs Green and Mrs Scott.  The Dance-Off itself was exciting, pitting four teachers against each other, and resulting in some questionable dancing, to say the least.  Well, at least it wasn’t all bad for Mr Osman, who won both rounds of the competition, ultimately racking up a win for Science, with a few whips and nae-naes along the way.  Best of the worst isn’t so bad, is it?

Porridge Day

It has become a tradition at the College now to have a yearly Porridge Day to help raise money for impoverished children across Africa, and the charity continued this year, too.  When it comes to charity at Emmanuel, the generosity of the students shines through at its best as a large number of students participated with nothing to gain, sacrificing their regular meal for porridge so that they could at least do something to help.  This behaviour, encouraged by our College core values, is what makes the Emmanuel environment so hospitable, and such a great school community to be part of.

South Africa visit leader, Mr Bourn, said: “Working in South Africa is a genuinely life-changing experience – an incredible opportunity to grow and develop in character. It is a special privilege to serve the children there who experience such a difficult start to life. Our students realise just how fortunate they are to come from the UK – from loving families and a fantastic school. Most telling is our students’ increased desire to apply for university courses and jobs which involve people, e.g. health care and education. They get a taste in South Africa of just how valuable and rewarding these jobs can be.”