Hornchurch pupils visit Ethiopia to see donations from their school handed over
PUBLISHED: 18:50 22 November 2013 | UPDATED: 18:54 22 November 2013
Two siblings from Hornchurch journeyed to Ethiopia with their family to see the impact of donations their school made for local children.
Hylands Primary School pupils Bethany and Jordan Hawkins, aged 10 and eight, visited the Entoto Freedom School in the capital Addis Ababa with older sister Rachel, 13, who attends the Frances Bardsley Academy, and parents Anna and Andrew.
Stationery was donated by Hylands pupils to the Ethiopian school through the charity Hope for Children. The giveaway was part of the Romford school’s activities for the harvest festival, which they marked under the theme of caring and selflessness.
Anna, 39, of Norman Road, said: “My children were shocked to see how little all the children had and how just pens and pencils were a massive present to them.
“Children here expect to have pencil cases filled with coloured pens and rubbers, which the children there don’t own.
“In the classrooms they sat on wooden blocks and had a chalkboard.
“To my children, they were almost like the Victorian classrooms they looked at in history.”
The week-long trip saw the family visit a number of other schools. “The children were really welcoming,” said Anna. “One of the things my girls found was that they were really fascinated with their long hair and kept wanting to touch our skin. A lot of them had never seen someone who wasn’t Ethiopian.”
The experience has changed Bethany, Jordan and Rachel’s outlook on their own lives.
Anna added: “They have realised how happy they are for the food they have got. They realise now how much they have.”
Hylands headteacher Valerie Yates said: “It’s wonderful to see how our harvest gifts can make such a difference.
“This has really had an impact on many of our children as they realise how much we take for granted.”