Pupils honoured for Africa project

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A PROJECT linking a Yorkshire school to one which helps pupils in one of the poorest parts of South Africa has earned 12 students a Diana Certificate of Excellence.

The former pupils at St Mary’s School in Menston have earned the award for their work through the Bambisanani Partnership which uses sport as a way of promoting education and health in an African community severely affected by HIV and Aids.

The Bambisanani Partnership – which is Zulu for working hand in hand – was launched five years ago, pairing the Menston school with Mnyakanya School, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa.

Last summer St Mary’s students Rebecca Harrison, Thomas Loughlin, Lisa Melvin, Isabelle Scott, Lorna O’Sullivan, Kate Shelly, Samuel Thomas, Alexander Threapleton, Phoebe Tyrie, Alexandra Jewell, Chris Whiteley and Kim Wu travelled to South Africa to carry out community work. Now they have each been awarded with the Diana Certificate of Excellence.

While in South Africa the St. Mary’s students had mentored 20 students from Mnyakanya School in leadership skills. One of these students, Sbonelo Magwaza, died recently and the pupils have decided to dedicate their award to him.

The assistant head teacher at St. Mary’s, David Geldart, who founded the partnership, said: “We at St. Mary’s are very proud of our Diana Certificate of Excellence award holders. This award will encourage them to continue their work and inspire others to get involved.

“The young people truly value this award and they are delighted to be recognised.

“It is so thoughtful and typical of these wonderful students that they would want to dedicate it to their friend Sbonelo.”

Mr Geldart and William Vilakazi, assistant head at Mnyakanya, gave a speech on the success of the partnership at the Sports College Conference last week.