Pupils from Royston High School, Barnsley and The City School, Sheffield, under the guidance of Ken Dunn, a geography teacher (and climber) at The City School have been visiting Lesotho since 2003 collaborating with the local community members to do variety of projects including establishing renewable energy sources, construction work, tree planting and terracing, medical work, irrigation, building a community reservoir and water purification projects. This year as part of their fund raising they have enlisted climbers Andy Cave and Leo Houlding to lend a hand.
Lesotho, also known as "The Kingdom in the Sky" is a landlocked country entirely surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. The pupils stay at Malealea in Western Lesotho where they work with the Basotho, the people of Lesotho. Ken tells us that the climbing nearby is amazing with huge sandstone walls and gorges.
This year, 46 students from Royston High School, Barnsley and The City School, Sheffield are returning to undertake a wide variety of environmental, educational and health related projects alongside their Basotho counterparts (Watch the video below).
This work costs money and the pupils have to make a personal contribution of £400 each, but in addition, to fund the work they do out in Lesotho they have to raise £60,000, with four weeks to go before they leave they have an additional £4,000 to raise to make sure they can buy the materials they need to complete the projects. Fund raising efforts have included sponsored litter pick-ups, bagging groceries at supermarkets and even cutting off Ken Dunn's beard and giving him a funny haircut.
Andy and Leo have kindly offered their services to help raise the money. Andy Cave used to go Royston High School, Barnsley, where Ken initially taught and they bumped into each other when Andy returned to Royston to do research in dialects. Andy offered to help and enlisted Leo.
A Fund Raising Evening With Andy Cave and Leo Houlding: Mischief in Patagonia and Take Me To The Edge
The event will be held at the Pennine Lecture Theatre, Hallam University, Sheffield at 7pm, March 20th. Tickets are £10. If 400 of us go, and it's worth it to listen and watch Leo and Andy's presentation, that £4,000 target will be reached. PLUS, Ken just told us that on the door you get a free gift, A Majestic Mountains Calendar featuring Ken's photographs of the area and explaining the links between the pupils of South Yorkshire and the Malealea community.
And if you fancy a trip out to Western Lesotho exploring and climbing, make sure you stay at the Malealea Lodge, they've just won an award for sustainable eco-tourism, which helps the area significantly. Details at www.malealea.co.ls
You can find out more and make a donation at www.malealea.org.uk/index.php/an-appeal
VIDEO: MAKING A DIFFERENCE TO PEOPLES' LIVES