Visit inspires boy’s Africa aid

James Thomas, 12, after taking part in the Great North Swim to raise money for Umnqophiso Pre-School in South Africa (S)
James Thomas, 12, after taking part in the Great North Swim to raise money for Umnqophiso Pre-School in South Africa (S)
0
Have your say

A BIG-HEARTED schoolboy has raised more than £700 to help children he met while on holiday in South Africa.

Twelve-year-old James Thomas, from Grantley, was staying at his grandparents’ home near Cape Town when he was inspired by a visit to Umnqophiso Pre-Primary School and Aftercare Centre.

“The day we visited the school they were having a lesson on teeth hygiene,” said mum Karen Thomas, “and James wanted to get the school enough tooth brushes and toothpaste for all the children.

“I asked a member of the board what she thought the school needed from a possible donation, and she said that two new classrooms needed play corners as well.”

On his return home, James set about fundraising for the school, and in June took part in the Great North Swim in Windemere.

James’ school - St Aidan’s in Harrogate - has got behind his efforts by giving sponsorship forms out to all his Year 7 classmates.

Between his own sponsorship money and his classmates’ help James has so far managed to raise £739.

The pre-school looks after 90 children, most from rural families who have moved to the city in search of a better life and found themselves struggling to survive and forced to leave their children to fend for themselves while they look for work.

It is the only pre-school in the area and also runs adult literacy classes for parents, some of which are taught by James’ grandmother Pam, as well as a sewing group and a beadwork group where adults can learn to earn a living.

The family are hoping to go back to South Africa next year to see how the school has used the money they raised.