‘Help us to Ghana’

Course leader Mark Ellis (seated) with (back left to right) Ellis Armstrong, Kieran Hutton, Declan Doyle and Beth Hudson.
Course leader Mark Ellis (seated) with (back left to right) Ellis Armstrong, Kieran Hutton, Declan Doyle and Beth Hudson.

A GROUP of young people are preparing for a trip of a lifetime to help African children – but they need £11,000 to get there.

Mark Ellis, who leads the Duke of Edinburgh Award course at Peterlee Youth Centre, wants to take five teenagers to Ghana, where they will help children at a 180-pupil school in the village of Goboloo Kofi.

Wingate resident Mark, 20, will be joined by The Academy at Shotton Hall students Kieran Hutton, 16, Beth Hudson, 16, Josh Chapman, 15, Declan Doyle, 15, and Dene Community School student Ellis Armstrong, 16, all from Peterlee.

The group are busy coming up with fundraising ideas to help them on their way on the trip, in summer 2014, as it will cost £1,000 each in accommodation and food costs and £800 for flights.

While there, as part of Project Africa, the group will teach primary-age children English and sports and also gain a valuable insight into how people in other parts of the world live.

Ahead of their two-week trip, they will also be working with youngsters at Wingate Infant School, St Joseph’s Primary School in Blackhall and Hesleden Primary School and organising workshops focussing on poverty this June. The group has already been awarded £300 from the O2 Think Big project for materials for art, drama, music to help local children learn about poverty.

Mark, who works at the McDonald’s restaurant, in Peterlee, said: “This is going to be a good experience. We are going to get to see something we wouldn’t get a chance to see in the UK.

“We will learn something new and the young people will also see that not everyone is well-off, that some people literally have nothing.”

Beth said: “It would be fantastic if we could get to Africa. It would be such a great opportunity for us all.

“It will be a real eye-opener and the research we have already done makes us realise how greedy we can be, we won’t be able to take our mobile phones with us and apparently, out there, the nearest landline is an hour away so we will only be able to go there maybe once to ring home.”

Mark added: “It’s a once in a lifetime thing and it will be a good feeling helping other people out.”

The group have come up with a number of fundraising ideas, including sponsored walks, supermarket bag-packs and band nights, but still need sponsors. Anyone who can help can email Mark at mellison3@me.com