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Townsfolk invited on African adventure

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By Fiona Reid
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Townsfolk invited on African adventure

A CHANCE to take part in a ‘life changing’ volunteer trip abroad has been opened up to the whole Lockerbie community.

Lockerbie Academy English teacher Helen Wright is keen to see ex students, parents and members of the wider Lockerbie community join pupils and staff on their next trip to link school Thawale Primary in 2017.

A total of four trips to the Malawi school have taken place since the African Link Group was created.

The latest volunteer trip, which took place this summer, saw Helen and a team of sixth year leavers help fix-up classrooms and teach pupils.

Helen said: “I’m keen to have community members take part for lots of reason but the main two are these – I met a group of volunteers on the way home in July who were a mixed group of folk from Glasgow who’d given up their time to work with Classrooms for Malawi – the rewards they experienced were obvious.

“Also several friends and parents of those already involved over the years – our link began in 2009 – have said how they’d love to be able to visit and help – so this next stage was inevitable really.”

She added: “I think once you’ve been to the Warm Heart of Africa you will want to keep going back. “There’s just something special about Malawian people and Scotland has such a special relationship with this part of Africa.”

The trip, which is likely to take place in late July or early August 2017, would see volunteers helping to teach Thawale Primary pupils as well as helping paint classrooms and renovate toilet buildings.

As much as £6000 would need to be raised to fund the building and improvement costs and each person’s flights, accommodation, food and internal travel would cost roughly £2500.

Helen plans to hold a meeting next month and welcome anyone from the community along who would be interested in volunteering abroad.

Encouraging people to sign up, she said: “It would just be a great experience and for some people just a chance in a life time maybe.”

Meanwhile the African Link Group are planning to create a scholarship for two Thawale Primary pupils to attend secondary school, which is not free in Malawi.

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