A Leeds teacher succeeds where Madonna fails
Madonna may have failed to impress the education officials in Malawi, but a teacher from Leeds has certainly succeeded, raising over £250,000 to build classrooms, libraries and day centres within the impoverished country.
Barry Brindley, Malawi Co-ordinator from the Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL), has dedicated himself to raising funds for the sixth poorest country in the world, spending 25 years developing strong working partnerships with local organisations in Malawi to support the youngsters who live there.
The fundraising effort first began back in 1988 when Barry returned from Malawi after 14 years spent teaching in Africa, the last six years at the Kamuzu Academy in the Kasungu District. A wife and four children later, Barry wanted to give something back to the country that had provided him with so much by developing links that would provide scholarships, educational facilities and medical supplies.
Through the support of pupils and parents from the School and local groups, Barry has raised over £250,000. The funds have built classrooms, libraries, day centres, science laboratories, and have provided much needed medical and educational equipment, with at least one large container of supplies sent to Malawi each year.
Barry Brindley, says: “I may be no global superstar, but the work we have done in Malawi has made an impact on a world stage. The School and I have a deep understanding of the support this country needs and have worked hard to establish successful partnerships with the organisations. When I first visited Africa I was just a young university student, but I immediately fell in love with it. I met so many wonderful people and received so many treasured gifts including my family, that I had to do my part to help those children who live there.”
To continue his good work and pass on his knowledge of the people, economy and culture of this developing country, Barry organises a biennial tour to Malawi for sixth form pupils studying at GSAL. Pupils are given the opportunity to take a 23-day tour of the country where they get to see firsthand the physical manifestations of the School’s fundraising work.
Barry has also formed a charity called the Zikomo Trust (‘thank you’ in Chichewa) to promote the work and links that GSAL has established.
Notes to Editors
The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) is a leading independent school for boys and girls aged three to 18. The School, in its various transformations, has a long history going back to 1552. It has 2,200 students spread across two locations; the Nursery and Pre-Prep School, Rose Court, is situated in Headingley. Junior School, Senior School and the Sixth Form are all located on a spacious green-belt site at Alwoodley Gates in North Leeds.
GSAL is also one of the city’s leading institutions employing around 450 people and has a turnover of £22 million. It invests nearly £1m a year in bursaries to support pupils from a wide range of backgrounds. www.gsal.org.uk
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