Canning Town teachers visit sponsored pupils at Ethiopian School

Bethany School pupils Mohammed, Bereket, Abonesh, Serkalem with St Luke's teachers James Jennings, S

Bethany School pupils Mohammed, Bereket, Abonesh, Serkalem with St Luke's teachers James Jennings, Shirley Cole, Geoff Aanonson. - Credit: Archant

Three teachers gave up their spring holidays to bring their expertise and equipment to pupils in Ethiopia who are sponsored by children at their school.

For the past three years, young students at St Luke’s VA School in Ruscoe Road, Canning Town, have raised money to pay for the education, housing, and health care for four children at Bethany School, Bekoji, exchanging letters, pictures, and gifts with their new friends.

Mr James Jennings, Mrs Shirley Cole, and Mr Geoff Aanonson travelled as part of a team from Standbyme, a charity which manages and supports schools in Ethiopia, to meet the pupils.

The children from St Luke’s sent them off with four boxes of pens, books, Easter eggs, and science equipment, including magnets, mirrors, and solar panels to give to their African counterparts.

The teachers worked closely with staff at Bethany School to improve practice in science, maths, and English, then going home with the pupils to meet their families.

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Mrs Cole said: “It was a very humbling experience to see how much we have in Canning Town compared to the families in Bekoji.”

On their return, the teachers faced tough questions from eager pupils at St Luke’s who wrote a newsletter about their trip and the differences between their school and Bethany School.

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Kamsi Nzewi, a Year Five pupil, wrote: “Mr Aanonson told us that they had some old science books and the science equipment we sent out.

“I can’t imagine doing science without equipment. How can you learn about magnets if you don’t get to use them?”

Mrs Theresa Aanonson, headteacher, said: “The pupils at St Luke’s have been moved by this project and, I believe, it has made them more aware of how they can make a difference in the world.”

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