The wider community provides an important context, enabling our pupils to understand that what they do at a local level can have significant impact at a regional, national or even international level. Links with local schools are strong and we are always looking for ways to build upon them, especially when we can provide educational opportunity to pupils from other schools.
We are pleased to play an active role in the Longdon and Lichfield communities. Many of the events at the School are open to our neighbours and friends. The School has wonderful facilities which it shares with local charities and other organisations out of school hours.
Waterloo is a small township straddling the narrow isthmus that connects the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown, on the Peninsula, with the interior of the country. Sierra Leone suffered greatly during twelve years of civil war – thousands of people died, families were driven from their homes into refugee camps and the schools were all destroyed.
The Waterloo Schools Charity was founded in 2005 to help the people of Waterloo to re-establish nursery, primary and secondary education. We have worked with the charity and Great Barr School since 2010 to raise funds for resources, donate educational supplies and rebuild facilities.
We have raised money through cake sales, non-uniform days, sponsored bike rides and football tournaments, the sale of wristbands, supermarket bag-packing, a sustainable fashion show and even a sing-along to Grease to pay for the costs of transporting a shipping container filled with donated computers, tools, cabling, desks, chairs, text books, bicycles, football shirts and anything else we thought might be useful. Oh, and a generator.
When one group witnessed the death of a nine year old girl called Aminata from malaria, they were horrified to discover that in the previous 12 months, 3,580 children under 5 had died from this preventable and treatable disease. This acted as a catalyst for the creation of Project 3580 – a campaign to raise the funds needed to supply as many mosquito nets as possible to the Kissi Town refugee camp. Months later 4,000 nets were delivered and distributed by our Sixth Formers and families were taught the importance of using them. A year later the impact was clear – a 40% reduction in child deaths.
The ebola outbreak of 2015 meant that travel to the country was not possible that year, but we hope to resume visits to Sierra Leone soon.