A regional daily reporter has taken donations from readers to poorly children in Zambia as part of a week-long visit to a special needs school.
Sarah Dale from Teesside’s Evening Gazette travelled to Zambia last month to help out at UTH Special School in Lusaka, which supports children with physical and learning disabilities.
She went to the school with her brother Mark, his wife Deborah and his mother-in-law Marion, who set up The Loddon School in Hampshire for those with special needs, along with a teacher from the school.
Before the visit, Sarah made an appeal to Gazette readers for donations to take to the children and was able to take a range of items to benefit them, including toys and stationery.
Since her return, she has written about the experience in an article for the paper.
She wrote: “Everyone has an incredible story. Peter is one of the older boys. He has cerebral palsy and his devoted mum gets the school minibus with him every day. This means she has to carry him from her home to the bus stop and on the way back too.
“When we consider our own circumstances and our own children’s bounty of toys and possessions, it is truly humbling to see how ecstatic the children were to receive a cuddly soft toy each.
“Every item that was unpacked was worthy of comment or a cuddle, whether a new blackboard rubber for each classroom or exciting toys that jingled or whistled or lit up.
“Watching the children’s faces come alive as they blew bubbles or banged drums or painted pictures was incredible. It was an amazing experience, one that will stay with me forever – but the story doesn’t stop there.
“The team is hoping to set up a charity specifically for the UTH Special Needs School, eventually reaching out to other schools that need help and Mark, Deborah and Marion are already planning a trip in November with more donations.”