Truro and Penwith College News

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Walking to Africa

Truro and Penwith College Geography and International Baccalaureate students have devised a novel way to raise money for AIDs orphans in Swaziland, Southern Africa. The young children they support have to walk miles to school, often barefoot, so the students have decided to ‘walk’ to the Shewula community in the Lebombo Mountains, on the border with Mozambique. This ‘walk’ might involve running, swimming, playing netball, dancing or miles covered in the gym. All distances have been measured or estimated with impressive results so far from the start date of 1st November 2013, including raising over £710 for the cause.

“We hope to cover the 6000 miles to Shewula by the end of May when exams intervene” said Beth Beckett, who is clocking up the miles out running and cycling. “Hopefully we can go much further” Jamie Henderson added. Jamie and Beth have singlehandedly journeyed over 1300 miles since November, and cannot wait to finally reach their target!

Jamie Henderson and Beth Beckett show the direct route - 6000 miles from Cornwall to Shewula, Swaziland.

Jamie Henderson and Beth Beckett show the direct route – 6000 miles from Cornwall to Shewula, Swaziland.

Lecturer Mike Axon is recording miles covered on the Cornish coast path between his hometown of Porthtowan and St Agnes. “I often have Ralph the dog to pull me along. He gave me an extra five miles one day when taking an alternative route, after being blinded by the sun and panicking! Whilst worrying at the time, I took the search as extra training to help keep up with the students in Africa” laughed Mike. Ralph and Mike have covered 1500 miles so far.

Not to be outdone by dog miles, Amy Roskilly of Penwith College is dedicating her regular horse-riding to the cause. She and horses Cedric and Jasper can be seen on the roads and bridleways near Paul, Penzance and cover 40 miles per month, enjoying the fresh air and views over Mounts Bay.

Rachel Botterill, Geography lecturer at Penwith, is a keen netball player and coach. Her travels around the court in training sessions and matches have added an impressive 150 miles so far. Both Jess Nayeb and Karina Close are training to complete a half marathon in further efforts to fundraise with 470 miles under their belts and growing. Further miles are coming in thick and fast from both Conor Trevena doing a leg busting 55 miles of cycling a week and Imogen Kenny breaking a sweat in the gym with over 250 miles recorded so far.

In July, the College will run two trips to Shewula by plane to Johannesburg and by minivans to Swaziland, crammed to the roof with educational materials, food and clothing for the orphans. It is an amazing hands-on experience for all concerned: emotionally draining, great fun, and an insight into a totally difference culture, landscape and lifestyle.

Legwax2The desperate poverty in Shewula also inspired Jamie and two others to have their legs waxed to raise funds for the charity.  Jamie, fellow A Level Geography student Matt Picknett and International Baccalaureate student Sam McGill had their legs waxed by students from the College’s Hair and Beauty department. The students were clearly nervous before the event but all three put on a brave face during the waxing. Jamie commented, “The pain will be worth it if we can help raise money for those who need it the most.” Sam McGill added “I have heard that the worst part might be the itching in a few weeks’ time!”

The Boom Shewula Wula Charity (BSW) has been supported by Truro and Penwith College since 2001 and has raised over £50,000 since then. Money raised gives orphans and vulnerable children a chance in life through education. BSW pays for informal schools, resources and teachers, while the Child Sponsorship Scheme Shewula (CSSS) buys uniforms and pays fees into the formal schools. Either way, it gives hope and opportunities for a generation whose parents have been stricken by the world’s highest incidence of HIV/AIDs and preventable diseases.