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Bradford man heads to Zimbabwe to help students with no internet or electricity




Chris on a visit to Pakati a few years ago

A BRADFORD man will fly to Zimbabwe next month as he aims to improve the lives of young people studying at two schools with limited resources.

Chris Walker, who lives in Great Horton, taught at Pakati Secondary School in rural Murewa from 1989 to 1991.

Chris – who also taught in Bradford, at Royd Mount Middle School in Thornton and Marshfield Primary – has since set up Friends of Pakati, which has donated computers to both his former employers and the nearby Pakati Primary School.

The schools have had issues with electricity – something Chris says we take for granted in the UK.

Chris (right) receives laptops for the students in Zimbabwe from his friend Bradley Mell
Chris (right) receives laptops for the students in Zimbabwe from his friend Bradley Mell

“The facilities we have in Britain are far better than in Murewa, so I’m trying to level things up a bit and help give the students a chance,” he said.

“The students really want to learn. We often take education for granted here, but there the parents work very hard to cover school fees.

“Education means a lot to them – for many, it’s their way out of poverty.

“Zimbabwe is one of the best educated countries in southern Africa, but there are issues in Murewa which make it harder.

“Without electricity, the schools are very dark. Students and teachers also don’t have access to basic things like the internet and photocopiers.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Chris with colleagues during his time teaching in ZimbabweChris with colleagues during his time teaching in Zimbabwe

Chris is originally from Scunthorpe, and when his hometown club visited Valley Parade in April, he organised a fundraiser where both sets of fans wore a tie to the game and donated £1 to Friends of Pakati.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Chris collects some Scunthorpe United shirts from the club's Glanford Park homeChris collects some Scunthorpe United shirts from the club’s Glanford Park home

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A Scunthorpe fan supporting Friends of Pakati in the Valley Parade away end in April

A Scunthorpe fan supporting Friends of Pakati in the Valley Parade away end in April

The charity has recently donated more laptops to the schools, as well as football kits and polo shirts.

“Scunthorpe United donated the shirts and kits for a team of 11,” Chris explained.

“The schools use a solar power system, which isn’t working at the moment. The problem is, the quote for covering those costs at both schools is out of our budget – we’re around £600 short.”

Friends of Pakati is accepting donations via PayPal and GoFundMe.

“Even if 20 people donated £5, that would be great. Even if people gave a pound or two, it would make a difference – every little helps.

“If anyone wants to donate a larger amount, I’m happy for them to get in contact with me on 07305 084295.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Chris on a visit to Pakati a few years agoChris on a visit to Pakati a few years ago

Despite the difficult situation in Murewa, Chris is still looking forward to going back.

“I’m hoping to meet a few former students and some old friends, and I’m planning to visit another three schools in the area,” he said.

“I’m very excited.”

Source: Telegraph & Argus




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