Four Mount Aspiring College students have set their hearts on raising $1000 each to support African children with their education.
In October, Zoe Smith, Kate Richards, and sisters Tessa and Mia Treadwell-Burke will fly to Kenya with the So They Can Foundation, a charity founded about nine years ago by Tessa and Mia’s mum Cassie Treadwell, a medical law specialist living in Wanaka.
So They Can supports about 10,000 children through partnerships with national and local governments in Africa.
They will visit Abedera Rangers Primary School in Nakuru, Kenya, which opened in 2010 and now has 180,000 pupils.
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Kenyan children sit a national exam in standard eight and only if they pass can they continue with higher education.
This is the first year the school has had standard eight pupils graduate.
The Wanaka girls will attend the ceremony and hope to run a sports competition.
Kate, 15, is a New Zealand junior alpine ski representative. Mia, 15, and Zoe, 14, enjoy cross country running and Tessa, 13, plays football.
Mia has been to Africa before but the other three expect to be in the deep end.
“I was quite a while ago now and I think it will appreciate it a bit more now that I am older. It will be quite good to see what Mum has been working on . . . It will be weird. I imagine they will be the same but they will be bigger, more confident,” Mia said.
Tessa was not jealous that her sister had already been to Africa. “I had a football tournament on that I would rather have gone to,” she said.
But now she is up for it. “It will be fun. Actually, I don’t really know what it will be like,” Tessa said.
Cass Treadwell said about 50 So They Can supporters would go on the trip.
“The kids [in Africa] will be so excited to see them. They can’t fathom why people would come all the way around the world to see them . . . They love it that someone cares enough to write,” Cass Treadwell said.
So They Can initiatives include schools, an orphanage, a women’s micro-finance group, a clinic, a sewing initiative for teenage mothers, a teacher’s training college and a primary school education collaborative.
About $3 million was needed to cover all the programmes. Of 1018 children at the school, 340 still needed sponsors.
MORE INFO: sotheycan.org