From Sustain to Sri Lanka: Tonbridge boys helping the community

Boys from Tonbridge School are taking part in a variety of projects which are helping to support communities on both a local and international level.

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28th September 2020 — Third Year boys have been learning about the causes of the international refugee crisis, and the complex issues involved, while working with the RefugEase charity. As well as helping out in a warehouse in Tonbridge High Street, and packing donations for deliveries to northern France and to Greece, boys have set themselves a sporting challenge and will collectively be cycling and running the distance to Lesvos in Greece: a total of 2,000 miles.

Lesvos was home to Moria Camp, the largest refugee camp in Europe, before it was recently destroyed by fire. To date, the boys have run and cycled 333 miles between them.

In other activities, a group of Sixth Formers are working with the school’s language staff to prepare teaching resources in French and Spanish, which will assist local primary school teachers. The boys also hope to use these resources themselves when their Modern Languages clubs in primary schools resume, once current restrictions are lifted.

Other Sixth Formers are supporting the Sustain Food Bank in Tonbridge by sorting donations and preparing food parcels for local families in need. In addition, Tonbridge students who, prior to the Covid pandemic, were visitors at the Derwent Day Centre are maintaining contact with senior citizens by writing letters, making short video messages and even paying doorstep visits, while maintain social distancing.

Following fundraising activities over the past couple of years, the school has been able to provide a new computer suite in the Child Action Lanka base in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka. This has enabled the first live ‘link-ups’ between Tonbridge boys and students from Child Action Lanka, the school’s overseas partner charity. The boys have started working in pairs with their overseas friends, sharing presentations, conversational English and offering support with homework.

Juliet Burnett, the school’s Community Action Manager, said: “We are delighted to be running this series of projects with our community partners. While many of our usual Tonbridge Community Action activities cannot run this term due to Covid restrictions, we are impressed with the boys’ innovation, commitment and enthusiasm for doing as many activities as they can to help others.”

Tonbridge School (Boys 13-18) is a day and boarding school in Kent.

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