Student to help build classrooms in Kenya

JPCT 031213 The Weald School Kenya trip summer 2014. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 031213 The Weald School Kenya trip summer 2014. Photo by Derek Martin

A student has cycled through rough terrain and knocked on neighbours’ doors to raise funds to go to Kenya and help children in poverty.

The Pulborough teenager, Pierre Vagneur-Jones, has raised £300 to pay for his trip to the African state for the summer of 2014 in the hope that he can help his classmates at The Weald Community School and Sixth Form build three new classrooms for the local children.

“For the last six years the school has raised over £200,000 for ‘Classrooms for Kenya’ and they’ve been sending about 50 students to help build three primary school classrooms from scratch,” said the 16-year-old.

“A lot of them at the moment are small shacks and mud houses - they have about 60 kids per hut and one teacher.”

To raise the money for his trip, Pierre joined with two classmates for an ambitious bike ride through the South Downs from Winchester to Eastbourne, over three days.

Along with Freddie Barker, 17, and William Melhuish, 17, the trio cycled 100 miles, commencing the day after the big storm that struck parts of the UK on the night of October 27.

“We left just after the storm and so the first day was really muddy, but it cleared up during the second day. I didn’t think we’d be able to reach our target. We were a little nervous,” said Pierre.

“We had to cycle 41 miles on the first day to get to the camping site.”

Having knocked on neighbours’ doors, visited local shops and asked his father to pass on details of his fundraiser to colleagues at work, Pierre completed the bike ride and raised the £300 needed.

“After Christmas we’re all going to a monthly training camp at Lodge Hill Centre in Pulborough. We’ll be doing things like brick laying.”

The Billingshurst school students and their physics teacher Will Richards (the leader of the project and its main driving force), will be constructing everything with the exception of the roof, which a team of professionals will complete.

Mr Richards said: “It’s all down to promoting education in Kenya. A lot of students can’t go to school because it’s too far away.”

Pierre continued: “It’s over three weeks - we’ll be eating the food, playing with the kids and helping them learn.”

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