Ruth in Asni

Bristol Grammar School report 2009

31 March to 7 April 2009

14 Students all Lower 6 – 10 female 4 male – 4 joined BGS in the 6th form.

  • Ruth L6CPW
  • Alex L6WM
  • Ellis L6NSF
  • Amy L6WM
  • Matthew L6PC
  • Philly L6NSF
  • Lottie L6AJD
  • Shona L6KET
  • Emma L6AJD
  • John L6NSF
  • Laura L6AJD
  • Hanyang (Felix) L6SMP
  • Ollie L6PC
  • Kate L6CMH

BGS staff: Sara Bassett and Andrew Dimberline

Background

Our first visit was in 2007 to dig the foundations for the first boarding house. In 2008 we visited just a week after the Boarding House opened and this was our third visit to the project and it is deeply satisfying to see how it has developed. Detail on the project can be found here: Bristol Grammar School report 2007.

BGS Fundraising

I set the 14 students the target of raising £ 2800.

Fundraising has far exceeded this total helped by school charity week and the Souk. Our current total is just over £ 10000. The commitment of all the students involved is deeply impressive.

The trip

  • We spent time playing with children in the area of the Boarding House (Asni)—the team had planned activities to do with the children.
  • Had a special lunch prepared by the girls at the Boarding House—the Moroccan girls had ended their Easter break early to return to the Boarding House in order to see us. After lunch our students organised a number of craft activities for the girls.
  • Presented BGS prizes for achievement and progress to two of the girls (Mouna and Khadija) and presented a DVD and House shirt from Edwards’ House—the BGS House that the Moroccan girls are members of.
  • We did a 3 day trek in the Atlas visiting the villages that the girls at the boarding house come from and then stayed at the Kasbah du Toubkal.
  • Explored Marrakech and its souk and main square and just a little shopping!

The students

All behaved impeccably and were a real credit to the School. I said to them at the end of the trip that there was not one example of me needing to say anything about discipline or behaviour and that I would happily travel with them all again—they were very good company. I was complemented by British and French tourists on how nice the students were. The students returned very motivated to continue working to support the project and I am sure a number of assemblies and articles for the press will result.

Future

As I have mentioned before I think this project may well be the most significant achievement of my teaching career in terms of it making a real difference to both the Moroccan girls and the BGS students involved. Several of our students have said to me that it has been a ‘life-changing’ experience for them. Some of the group above are already starting to plan their return and it is pleasing to see how many of the 2007 and 2008 teams have continued to fundraise for the project over the long-term.

I am committed to this project into the future and will be running the trip again in 2010 and then looking for other staff to be involved in the longer term. Boarding costs for each girl are £ 600 per year and I am sure that I can work with our students to raise the funds to support 3 or 4 girls each year.

I would like to further develop our links with the project and for staff and students to aspire to be part of this trip each year and for as many as possible to be able to take part.

One of our students will be spending time at the project in her GAP year (Ilaria Pignatelli) and a small group of BGS parents have asked if I will look at a way they can become more involved. I am looking at possibilities for a group of BGS Medic parents to support a family health project in the area.

Andrew Dimberline

17 April 2009

Head of Leadership Development
Bristol Grammar School

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