UK reception class battled fierce winds to raise money to double-vaccinate people in India

·3-min read

Meet the inspiring reception class that battled fierce winds last Friday to raise enough money to double-vaccinate over 805 people in India.

The 'Panda' reception class, aged four and five, were galvanised into action when one student was saddened to learn about the Coronavirus crisis in India whilst watching NewsRound earlier this month.

The class of 30 and their teacher put their thinking caps on after Zain El-Mahmoud, five, said he wanted to help get oxygen to people in India.

Class teacher Saffron George, 27, asked the class how they could raise money to send oxygen to India and the children chose a sponsored walk because they had seen other kids doing them on NewsRound.

The intrepid youngsters raised an incredible £2,400 and held their three mile walk going nine times round their school including traipsing through a muddy field last Friday [May 21] and refused to give up despite the inclement weather.

The money is enough to send 46 oxygen concentrators to India, or to double-vaccinate over 805 people in India against Covid-19 through the UNICEF India Covid Crisis Fund where it is being donated.

Young Zain, from Valley Invicta Primary School at Laybourne Chase, in Kent, said: "I felt sad because they don't have enough oxygen for people in India, and without oxygen you die.

"I wanted to raise money to give it to India so they can buy more oxygen."

Determined Zain raised £800 with a whopping £300 coming from an appeal he made to his dad's colleagues over a Zoom call.

On the walk, he tripped over twice because wet weather had made big holes in the field but didn't stop until the challenge was complete.

He said: "It's really great because it's a lot of money and I feel really good.

""I liked doing it because it was useful and fun, and I think people in India will be really happy.

"I didn't mind tripping over and I didn't want to give up."

Miss George explained she watches NewsRound with her class every day, and asks them each to remember two items to talk about, to help them understand and think about what is going on in the world.

A few minutes after watching the programme, she could see Zain had something on his mind and so the fundraising idea was born.

The class all made posters to advertise their sponsored walk and took them to the local shop to help raise the money.

On the day of the walk, the class enjoyed Indian snacks, Bollywood dancing, learned about Bengal tigers, and built a junk model of the Taj Mahal.

"It was so windy, they were almost blown over", said Miss George, "but they all wanted to carry on walking even though I said we could finish it another day.

"They really had to put in double the effort.

"I am very, very proud of them all.

"This is a moment that will stick with me throughout my teaching career.

"It  reminds me why I wanted so badly to be a teacher.

"The whole class were right behind Zain as soon as he said he wanted to help.

"They have such humanity at that age and it's really lovely teaching them to learn how to help others.

"I am very much flying the flag of my class at the moment and other teachers are now on a mission for their classes to do something similar."

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