SI Garstang News
16 January 2014
Backpack Project - Update 3
Garstang Soroptimist renew link with Forton Primary School
Forton CE Primary School.
On January 16th Soroptimists renewed their links with Forton School by presenting an Assembly on the Backpack project. This also linked in with the School working towards their Full International Schools Award, having gained the Intermediate Award last year through their links with a school in Ghana.
A backpack was taken into school and the contents displayed to the assembly. Children were then asked about what they had done before coming to school – had they washed, cleaned their teeth, dressed, had breakfast? – and asked to come out and hold up the relevant item from the display. They agreed that all these things were easily available to them at home.
Next, a child from each class was invited up to tell everyone what they had done in the lesson prior to the Assembly, and to pick up from the table any educational item they might have used or needed. Once again they agreed that all the items were here at school for their use.
The Soroptimist then explained that, in many countries, like Malawi, that have had wars and famine or a natural disaster, very often families can’t afford to buy basic things like clothes, pens, books etc. And so they miss out on school and an education. She explained that the Backpack project provides a child with a simple backpack filled with all the items on the table, which can be a lifeline to these children to enable them to get an education – the best way to escape poverty.
She went on to remind them that the Garstang Backpack Project started here, in Forton School over a year ago, when the Head Teacher allowed us to put an article in their Newsletter, asking for old backpacks, if perhaps children got new ones for Christmas. The children were very generous and brought some into school, but, even better, the local newspaper picked up the story, and soon we were being given backpacks and the items to fill them from all over the place!
In July last year, the Soroptimists had enough items to fill 10 backpacks, so we came to school laden with boxes and bags of equipment and 10 backpacks. Five children helped us pack and label the bags and, by the end of the year, we had 20 backpacks full and labelled. These were bagged up and sent to Glasgow, where they were loaded into containers for their journey to Malawi and distribution to the local school children. At this point we planned to show the short video from the Mary’s Meals website illustrating ‘The Journey of a Backpack’ – but the technology gremlins intervened and we had to agree to show this at a later date!
She told the children that the Soroptimists thought that this was such a worthwhile project, that they wanted to continue with it, and that she was here today to ask, once again, for their help. Any backpacks, clothes, or any of the items on the list, would be very gratefully received, and perhaps we could come back next summer to fill more backpacks – to change the life of a child by giving it an education and helping it along the pathway out of poverty.