The 3rd Kilsyth BB Company have just returned from a mission to Malawi where they helped construct a school for children in the poverty-stricken town of Katete.
One of the boys who helped raise the £25,000 to fund this trip and worked on the school was Blair Anderson, the following report on the team’s experiences is in his own words.
Over the last four years the boys of 3rd Kilsyth Boys’ Brigade have raised over £25,000 to build a kitchen at the school in Katete and recently a group of eight went out to renovate classrooms.
Katete itself had no electricity and the women of the village pumped water from a borehole. Shoes and schoolbags were rarely to be seen on the children and some of their uniforms were hanging by the threads.
For 1800 children there are ten classrooms, each can squeeze almost 100 children into them while the rest sit outside in the dirt.
Out of the 29 teachers, barely half are properly qualified. One member of staff in particular stood out in his hospitality – Precious was just 18, helped at the school and wanted to train to become a qualified teacher.
It was going to take him over three years to save up the equivalent of £22 to be able to sit exams before he could go to teacher training, realising how little this would cost them, the boys gave Precious some of their spending money to cover the cost of his remaining training.
So by the time the group left Katete, behind them they left not only a completely renovated block of classrooms, new clothes for the orphaned and most vulnerable children, football strips, balls, loom bands, toys and stationery but they left Precious with a hope for the future – a future he would continue to pass on to every child he teaches once he is fully qualified.
This is not the end of Kilsyth’s involvement with Katete - there are plans to build more classrooms and hopefully bring electricity to the school.
To let the people see what their contributions have done, later in the summer there will be an open night where the team can tell their stories and share their pictures and everyone is welcome to attend - more details nearer the time.
Also, if anyone has clothes for babies and primary aged children then could we ask that you consider giving them to the Brigade as there are plans to send these to the orphans.
Although it was the boys who went out none of it would have been possible without the support of the people of Kilsyth and surrounding villages so thanks must go to them for the huge difference they have made to the people of Katete.
The 3rd Kilsyth BB holds its meetings in Kilsyth Anderson Church on Wednesday evenings and is open to all age groupss from Primary 1 to S6.
Contact Christine Johnston on 01236 821060.