Children join Calne charity founder on mission to Africa

This Is Wiltshire: Preparing for the trip, back row, from left, Miriam Sawyer, Julia Childerhouse, Jo Millward, Dave Sawyer, Lydia Hayward and Mandy Bush. Front, Lucy and Beth Sawyer, Becca Childerhouse and Abby Millward Preparing for the trip, back row, from left, Miriam Sawyer, Julia Childerhouse, Jo Millward, Dave Sawyer, Lydia Hayward and Mandy Bush. Front, Lucy and Beth Sawyer, Becca Childerhouse and Abby Millward

Charity founder Miriam Sawyer is visiting Grace Primary School in Butale, Uganda, with a team of 12 volunteers from Chippenham, Calne and Gloucester to help build three new classrooms for pupils.

Mrs Sawyer, of London Road, Calne, set up the Butale Project with her husband David two years ago after they visited the area and since then they have raised more than £50,000 for the school.

In February, charity supporters raised £8,000 through a ball at John Bentley School and this will be used to help build three new classrooms and six toilets.

Building work has already begun and the group will help to render and paint the new buildings. It will also spend time interacting with the children through songs, crafts and stories.

The group will fly out to the primary school, which has been established for six years, on July 21 and return on August 7. Mrs Sawyer will fly out with her husband and her daughters Beth, 15, and Lucy, 13, who are both John Bentley pupils.

She said: “Although we have visited the school before it’s just been for a short time. This really will be the start of getting to know the children, the staff and the village.

“Two people in the village decided to start the school but they had no reserves to equip it. They had this single building, but there was nothing in it. They didn’t even have any desks or chairs.

“The long-term plan is to build a vocational school for secondary school children, so that when the children get to the top they don’t disappear.”

Rebecca Childerhouse, nine, who goes to Redland Primary School in Chippenham, is joining the trip with her mother Julia and her fellow pupils have helped by collecting pencil cases to give out once they are there.

Mrs Childerhouse, 37, said: “Things have been building up over the last year so it’s suddenly quite exciting. For my daughter to see something different, it’s going to be life changing for her and for us as a family.

“It’s so nice to be able to give out resources. It’s a really poor part of Uganda, so it’s good to give them stuff and to be able to bless them through our culture because we have so much to share.”

For more information about the project, visit thebutaleproject.wix.

com/butale-project

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