Blogs and News - St George's School For Girls, Edinburgh

18 May 2020
Raising Money for 'Our Neighbours': Join us on a Virtual Trip From Edinburgh to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

ONCP3In Edinburgh, two schools with a joint plan are travelling together on a most unusual trip! We hope that friends and families will join us on our journey too. After all, it looks like very few of us will be travelling far this summer on holiday... so why not make this a summer holiday with a difference?

We are off on an exciting virtual trip from Edinburgh to Zimbabwe (together, but adhering to government regulations for social distancing). If you are up for a challenge whilst having fun, you are very welcome to come along with us… walking, running, cycling, rowing, skateboarding, horse riding etc. Our plan is to travel as far as we can over the month of June, whilst we raise as much money as possible for Our Neighbours Community Project (ONCP) that is based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-biggest city (approx. population one million).

Please take a couple of minutes to watch the following video, which will give you some idea of the struggles of the people of Bulawayo and what we want to do to help.

How do I sign up?
Our journey begins on Friday 29 May, so if you would like to sign up to this life-changing trip, please email Mrs Bryce, ejb@stge.org.uk.

How do I donate?
Of course, the most important part is to decide how much to donate. Any donation will be very much appreciated, and we thank you in advance. If you are a taxpayer, tax relief can be claimed. The code is J301N. DONATE

Why Zimbabwe?
Because some pupils, staff and parents have visited or lived there and love it! It’s a special place with inspiring people.

What are we fundraising for?
The money is desperately needed to buy basic food packages for the most vulnerable families that the ONCP are assisting at this time (currently 784 families). These basic food hampers cost £25 each, and comprise of meallie-meal (maize flour), cooking oil, soya chunks, sugar, salt, flour, beans, soap, vegetables, toothpaste, Vaseline, and sometimes rice. In a nutshell, there is a massive need for food, and people are very hungry. Help us to buy as many food hampers as possible for ONCP to distribute in this Covid crisis and beyond.

What is going on in Zimbabwe all those 1000s of kms away? Why do they need our support?
Zimbabwe went into lockdown early because of the terrible state of its health sector and its lack of preparedness for caring for the seriously sick with Covid-19. Before lockdown, ONCP provided emotional and practical support including basic food hampers to families and individuals that were in the most desperate situations (for example, elderly grandmothers caring for orphaned grandchildren, single mothers with children with disabilities, and very elderly people without family support). They live in and around Bulawayo, many in squatter camps.

ONCP2However, as ONCP have been trying to distribute food during lockdown, the needs they have seen are so massive and so desperate. Martin Barrow who coordinates the project says, “The hunger needs were the worst we’ve ever seen in all the years we’ve been operating as Our Neighbours. This is due to government regulations banning any work including informal work such as selling vegetables on the roadside. There are therefore more and more people unable to have any income... and there are no state benefits. The Zimbabwean government has promised to pay one Covid-19 payment of the equivalent of 5 US dollars to each of the most vulnerable families, but this has not been paid to any family yet.

The situation in the Vimbridge community highlights the absolute desperation. The ONCP workers had been told of many people going without food for days there. They talked to one elderly lady who was so weak and frail that she couldn’t even stand. She told them that her stomach was empty as she’d gone for three days without food. So many in the community, including children, had similar stories and verified the absolute crisis they are facing. Another old lady Elizabeth was so sick from hunger and was unable to buy hypertension medication because she could not afford it. Her grandchildren that she cared for were too weak (from not eating for days) to go outside to play.

How will the virtual trip work?
We will travel in teams of 9, including a team captain. The captain’s job is to motivate their team to choose a name, help each member to decide on their personal target of kms for each week, and to collect in the combined kms. Distances will be submitted using an online form, so there is no requirement to use special exercise apps. However, the more competitive amongst us can register to join our Strava group to monitor our individual ranking.

ONCP1We will be plotting our route regularly to show us on the map how far we have reached as a group. There will be some shout-outs from people in our community as we “travel” through their countries, and we will discover some interesting things about the places we are “visiting” on our route to Zimbabwe.

Any variety of team combinations are acceptable, as long as the team captain is an adult or a prefect. For instance, teams of mums, teams of dads and sons, grandparents, cousins, friends from home… anything that will be fun – let’s mix it up and go for it! This virtual trip is about teamwork, getting exercise, maybe even reaching some personal physical targets. We want everyone to have fun as we journey together, knowing that we are part of one community doing our bit to help another community.

Please join us on a life-changing trip: Edinburgh to Bulawayo 2020!

Invite your friends and family, and let’s form as many teams as we can, and travel as far as we can together, plotting our journey on our trip map as we move forward together. Are you up for this one-off trip? Let’s do it!

Remember to follow us on Twitter @stgeorgesedin to see how far we have travelled together.

The Zimbabwe Trip Hub

 

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