Over the last few years some @NKCollege1 students have been sponsored to travel to Cape Town, Africa with Mellon Educate to help with the construction of a new school. However, this year will be a little different due to Covid-19, our staff and students are unable to attend and with this in mind we had to find another way of supporting this great cause.

As the building blitz cannot take place this year, three volunteers from Mellon Educate, Shauna Flynn, Paul Crowe and Eric Guilfoyle came up with the fantastic concept to encourage people to get fit with friends and family whilst being able to raise funds to ensure no teacher or child loses out to the benefits of the Mellon Educate teacher training support programmes.

Volunteers are being asked to put on their trainers to walk, run or cycle 100km within the month of August. The charity’s aim is for all participants to collectively walk 10,000km, the distance between Dublin, via London to Cape Town.

Karen Wyatt, Assistant Curriculum Manager for Construction Crafts has signed up for the challenge along with Sarah Easton Childcare Lecturer and Rhiannon Hughes, Deputy Principal amongst many other members of staff they have managed to clock up 260km between them!

Karen said, “some of our students and sponsors were truly disheartened not to be going on this year’s blitz. But three Mellon volunteers set up another way of getting aid out to Cape Town by virtually walking the distance. I set up my family to walk/run/cycle their part to Cape town and we have been enjoying the challenge. Ensuring children and their families are still getting the help and support they need during this pandemic, makes the determination stronger and it is not too late to join the event either.”

Deputy CEO, Ken Kingston, said,

“Each year volunteers from Ireland, the UK and globally meet in South Africa and give their expertise and time to build school facilities and train teachers resulting in positive outcomes for both teachers and their students. The end of year results and feedback to date, has been hugely encouraging. With travel restrictions in operation we need to be creative in ensuring funding is there, keeping our teams on the ground providing essential educational services. Our volunteers have helped us come up with this idea and once again we are forever grateful to them in championing the work we do in the townships of South Africa. Between us all we can clock up the miles, lose some waistline and bring smiles to those who most need it.”

The schools are now beginning to reopen with the feeding programmes restarting and Mellon Educates’ focus will return to our core function of assisting, mentoring and training the teachers in partner schools.

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