Ipswich children send 20,000 books to Africa to start new school libraries
Ipswich children are helping to start new libraries for underprivileged children in Africa - by packaging up nearly 20,000 books in a project led by Blues legend Simon Milton.
As well as 19,306 educational books, volunteers across Suffolk have helped Futurestars - the charity Milton runs - send 18,605 sheets of paper, 411 children’s games and craft sets and 6,824 items of sports kit, as well as 206 pairs of boots and trainers.
Futurestars aims to boost education in Ghana and Togo and organised kit amnesties in 2018 and 2019 to give young people the equipment they need to play sport.
This year, the community has rallied round to send off a bumper consignment to Africa, with Ipswich’s Copleston High School donating thousands of educational textbooks it no longer needed - a huge effort, as it needed to check the books being sent were still educationally relevant.
Imagine That, from Woodbridge, also donated a large collection of children’s board and craft games, while St Matthew’s Church of England Primary School, in Ipswich, gave away many books.
Leading clubs such as Arsenal, Ipswich Town, Norwich City and many other organisation also donated kit.
Futurestars says that all the donations will be put to very good use in schools in Tema, Labadi, Accra and Lome.
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“With so much thanks to Copleston High School and everyone who has donated, we are now in a position to help set up libraries in each of our partner schools,” the charity said.
“We hope that this will be an ongoing project so the libraries can grow and develop over the next few years.”
After volunteers from Copleston High, Fendercare, OMA Group, Culford School, Alterra Farms, University of Suffolk and Framlingham College helped to sort the donations, Mr Milton - who scored 57 goals in 340 appearances for Town - said he was “proud” to see such a powerful community effort.
“Children from Ipswich are picking books for children in Ghana,” he said.
“I can’t tell you how good that is. I can’t tell you how good that makes us feel as a charity.”
Copleston High principal Andy Green projects such as this are important to building young people’s characters as “good citizens”.
He added: “What this is all about is helping others less fortunate than ourselves.
“It gives them the ability to have an impact on the lives of people in less affluent countries and give them better life chances.”
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