Children unite in unique fun project

SCHOOLCHILDREN in Newham are uniting with their counterparts in South Africa on a fun, international project probing what the football 2010 World Cup and 2012 Olympics will mean to them. Three Newham schools – Lathom Junior, East Ham, Essex Primary, Manor

SCHOOLCHILDREN in Newham are uniting with their counterparts in South Africa on a fun, international project probing what the football 2010 World Cup and 2012 Olympics will mean to them.

Three Newham schools - Lathom Junior, East Ham, Essex Primary, Manor Park, and Ellen Wilkinson Primary, Beckton - are taking part and have each teamed up with a partner primary in South Africa.

Lathom's is Briardale, in Durban; Essex's is Sunford, also in Durban, and Ellen Wilkinson has united with Acacia, in Verulam.

The impact that the sporting spectaculars have on the children and their lives, as well as on the environment, will be focused on and shared by the youngsters during the three-year project.


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Government cash via the Department for International Development was awarded to fund teachers from South Africa to come and visit the UK and vice versa.

Teacher at Lathom Preya Sahota, who was herself born and raised in South Africa, said: "We aim to explore the sustainability of the games, the carbon footprint of the countries participating and the impact that the regeneration will have on our communities.

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"As we hope to host the 'greenest games' in Newham we are hoping to also motivate our local communities to become more environmentally conscious and to promote living and leading a more healthier lifestyle considering our dependency on each other and the environment around us."

Lifetime links will also be developed between those in both countries, it is hoped, said Preya.

In October, a teacher from each of the three South African schools came to visit Newham and meet the pupils and staff here, in preparation for the work to commence.

A celebration and farewell assembly was held on the visitors' last day.

Preya said: "Our pupils are becoming more aware of South Africa, especially Durban, and really look forward to hearing about the developments in the country.

"In class we are able to challenge stereotypes, as depicted so often by the media and they are beginning to understand that even though there are differences between them they appreciate that there are also similarities too.

"They regularly search the net and follow the developments of the stadium as its being built.

"They enjoy reading their letters from their partners and even learnt some Zulu and Afrikaans greeting phrases in preparation for the visit from our partners in South Africa."

Preya added: "As an educator, born and brought up in South Africa, I felt so motivated to rise up and do something for the community I presently work in and for the community I was raised in. I feel that the inspiration from these games can develop sustainable links between these two countries and give the children the opportunity to understand the world we live in and how interconnected and interdependable we are on each other.

The World Cup and the Olympic Games will bring thousands of opportunities for many of the people in South Africa and in the United Kingdom and I hope that for the children involved in this project and children around the world, that they too will understand that they can be a part of these games if they are willing to dream the bigger dream.

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