Press Releases 2014-2015

UWTSD Students Fund-raise for a Braille Machine after Visiting Schools in Lesotho

22.06.2015

University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) students and staff travelled to Lesotho in Southern Africa during September last year. Eight students from BA Social Inclusion, Teacher Education and Early Childhood along with three lecturers went on the study visit to Lesotho where they visited an orphanage, schools and preschools. Lesotho is identified by the UN as a least developed country, with life expectancy down to 47 years old. It is a beautiful mountainous country known locally as the 'Kingdom in the Sky' or the 'Mountain Kingdom.'

School Children in Lesotho

On returning from Lesotho, having been touched by what they saw, students decided to fundraise in order to buy a braille machine for a school they visited, St. Bernadette’s Resource Centre for the Blind.

Ashleigh Davies, BA Early Childhood student, who travelled to Lesotho, said:

“One of the main things that struck me after visiting Lesotho was how eager the children are to attend school; some children would walk for miles to get there. The children value education and know how important it is. Lesotho classrooms have little to no resources. We had to make our own teaching resources out of what they had: paper, recycled plastic bottles, pens and pencils. It made me realise how we take the resources we have available here in Wales for granted and that as a teacher you don’t necessarily need sophisticated resources, it’s the way you teach that gets the children interested.

“We are currently raising money to buy braille machines for St. Bernadette’s Resource Centre for the Blind, located in Maseru. The centre provides primary education and boarding for children with visual impairments. There are only a few braille machines available for the 70 children who attend the school. Braille machines cost about £200 each, and we have raised close to £100 so far. We are raising money by asking people to wear pink and donate £1. Also, if people are interested in knitting or would like to learn how to knit, they can come to the Nora Isaac building NIB02, between 12:15 and 1:15 on Thursdays where we knit individual squares to create blankets and clothes for the orphans. It gets very cold during the winter time in Lesotho, as I found out during my time there.”

Alison Rees Edwards, UWTSD Lecturer who had the idea of starting a knitting club said:

“The idea for a knitting club arose after staff and students returned from their visit and shared their experiences and photographs of babies and young children in knitwear. I thought the knitting club would be a way for staff and students to get together once a week and contribute in any which way they can. Some join for a short time to knit/learn to knit while others give a small donation. It's open to both professional knitters and beginners - all are knitting individual squares which will be sewn together to create blankets for babies and young children from Lesotho.”

The University worked closely with Dolen Cymru, an independent charity which fostered a unique country to country link between Wales and Lesotho.

Dolen Cymru’s Education Officer said:

"I visited the students pre-departure to give them some information about Lesotho and what activities they could do on their school visits. Some have been in touch since they returned explaining how life changing it was and that they would like to stay in touch with Dolen Cymru. One student even developed a lesson in Wales based on the partnership work we have created between schools on the Swallows journey."

Caryl Monk, a student on the trip who is also actively fundraising said:

“It was an eye-opening experience to see how many children were being taught in one classroom by only one or two teachers. In one school that we attended there were ninety children to a classroom. I am so glad that I took the opportunity given by the University to visit Lesotho as I might never have been able to attend such a beautiful place on my own.  This experience will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

Note to Editor

  1. For more information please contact Sara Jones, PR and Communications Officer, on 07449 998 478 or via email at sara.f.jones@uwtsd.ac.uk
  2. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David was established in 2010 through the merger of the University of Wales Lampeter and Trinity University College, Carmarthen. On 1 August 2013 the Swansea Metropolitan University merged with the University
  3. The University’s Royal Charter 1828 is the oldest in Wales, and it is third behind Oxford and Cambridge in Wales and England. HRH Prince of Wales is the Patron of the University
  4. On 1 August, 2013 Coleg Sir Gâr merged with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David Group, however they will keep their own brand. Coleg Ceredigion merged with the Group on 1 January 2014