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School rallies round for poor African village

PUBLISHED: 15:20 17 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:08 02 July 2010

Pierre and Rentia de Jager with headteacher, Kerry Shipley

Pierre and Rentia de Jager with headteacher, Kerry Shipley

POVERTY-stricken Zimbabwean villagers are seeing in the New Year with more food, water, and medicine, thanks to a generous school. A pair of South African missionaries, who visited their Barking-based daughter for Christmas, left last week with an unexpe

POVERTY-stricken Zimbabwean villagers are seeing in the New Year with more food, water, and medicine, thanks to a generous school.

A pair of South African missionaries, who visited their Barking-based daughter for Christmas, left last week with an unexpected £500 cheque.

The cash, collected by students, teachers and parents at Thames View Junior School, will provide food, health and education services for the aids-stricken Matapo Hills village, in Bulawayo.

Missionaries, Pierre and Rentia de Jager were presented with the cash injection at an assembly at the Bastable Avenue school, where their daughter works, last week.

Ronel Rautenbach, 26, came to the UK from South Africa two years ago, and is a popular Year Three teacher at the school, but remains passionate about the charitable work of her family.

After hearing how her parents devoted their lives to the poverty-stricken village, and are responsible for its four schools and 400 residents, the school decided to do their bit to help.

Deputy Headteacher, John Wight and his wife, Kathleen decided to forego one another's Christmas presents, and make a donation to the village instead.

Kathleen, who is also a Parent Support Advisor for the school, told the POST: "We felt this cause was far more important than buying gifts for each other.

"It's unbelievable, just £10 can send one of these village children to school.

"We have decided to make this a new Christmas tradition."

Through collections and non-uniform days, the pupils raised a further £500.

During their visit, the missionaries showed a DVD to students, depicting the village, its people and the services their cash will help maintain.

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