For the last three years St. Clare’s Catholic Primary School has won the Preston Soroptimists’ Guild Shield for their involvement in projects in the community and the environment. In 2008 and 2009 the school liaised with a school in the Gambia. Through various fundraising activities and collections we were able to donate a range of football kits to children and young adults. These young people in the Gambia greatly benefited from the support of the parents, children and staff of St. Clare’s. The willingness and desire to help others continued in 2010 as the School became involved in the Hodovo Project.
Father Loughran’s initial presentation of a refugee settlement in Hodovo, in Bosnia, highlighted displaced adults and children in a barren landscape with extremely poor or virtually no educational facilities whatsoever. This bleak realisation became very real when Father Loughran, Mr. Purcell, Mrs Foster and Mrs Cywinski visited the settlement in April. The fact-finding visit revealed that the children had absolutely no P.E equipment, there was no piped water in one of the schools; there were no books or pencils in the classrooms! Having seen this desperate situation we were totally inspired to try and make a difference to the lives of these children and secure basic facilities to help provide for their education. Having seen the settlement, and most importantly the primary school, it was fundraising with real purpose.
Needless to say our community project was not without the fantastic support of our parents and the wider community. A host of events have taken place, such as a community quiz, card sales, cake sales, book sales, a ‘sleepover for Hodovo’ (this event raised over £1600 pounds!), World Cup football sale, woodcraft and flower arranging. During the summer, to keep the momentum going, twelve members of our staff and four parishioners completed a ten mile sponsored walk in Lytham. This event raised over £1000 pounds! Children designed a logo ‘Every little bit counts’ and stuck this on to little boxes that are available in school and in church. Steadily and kindly families have been filling these with loose change to support the Hodovo Project. Corpus Christi High School staff completed a sponsored cycle to the Lake District and raised over £1200 pounds!
Furthermore, children from St. Clare’s and Corpus Christi High School designed and painted little wooden donkeys to raise funds for the children in Hodovo- ironically, one of the most poignant moments from the visit to Hodovo was the sight of a threadbare donkey hanging out to dry on a clothes line. To date the project has raised enough money to send £1000 pounds for P.E equipment which the children and staff are now happily enjoying. Over £4000 pounds has been forwarded to begin installation of water mains and piped water to the school.
This project has raised the awareness for our children of people in need. It has given them a sense of community and purpose. It has shown them that when people come together they can really make a difference to the lives of others. It has been a very humbling experience indeed to help another community in a very different environment. We thank you sincerely for your support and generosity.