Thinking Big on poverty

Mark Ellison pictured with some of the Heselden primmary school pupils he was working with on the African project.
Mark Ellison pictured with some of the Heselden primmary school pupils he was working with on the African project.

A YOUTH leader set to take a group of teenagers to Africa to teach youngsters has received a cash boost to help local children.

Mark Ellison, 21, has been awarded £2,500 funding from the 02 Think Big initiative to work with local primary schools on a project themed on toys and games from around the world.

The project aims to highlight the issue of poverty – both in East Durham and further afield.

Mark, from Wingate, was initially supported by a £300 Think Big grant to run a series of workshops in primary schools to raise awareness of the issue of poverty.

To take this to the next level, Mark will be allocating countries to children in different primary schools and encouraging them to look at what life is like for children there through the medium of their toys and games.

Each of the schools will be invited to a Toy Fair in Newcastle later this year where they can share their experiences together.

The whole scheme is part of a broader project, Project Africa, which will see Mark and six students who attend Peterlee Youth Centre travel to Ghana to teach primary school children in Summer 2014.

Mark said: “We hope that this project will subtly raise awareness of the differences between children across the world, highlighting the contrast between the toys used in countries like ours and further afield. I think it will be really valuable for everyone involved.”