The head teacher of Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy is set to spend two weeks helping to improve education for children in South Africa.

Joan McCarthy will be returning to South Africa with Mellon Educate after her first trip with the charity last year.

This year, she will be joined by Fiona Molumby, Religious Studies teacher at Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy in Derby.

Mrs McCarthy and Mrs Molumby, who worked together for five years when Mrs McCarthy was a teacher at Saint Benedict CVA, will work in schools, supporting teachers and finding out more about the country’s education system.

Last year Mrs McCarthy spent much of her time at Siversands High School, teaching and supporting teachers.

She described the trip as a ‘life-changing’ experience and was keen to return.

She said: “It was what I was expecting and more, it was so humbling. You think you know what real poverty is until you actually see it, you just don’t realise.

“Although teachers out there have their qualifications they don’t have much teaching experience so we were running workshops with them.

“There were 55 children in one class and often there aren’t enough desks for them all. They also live in a township where there is a massive problem with gangs and violence.

“But South Africa is a country of great hope, it’s a country where people believe they can achieve anything and they believe that education is the key.”

Both teachers will travel out at the end of July 2018 and Mrs Molumby said she was looking forward to joining Mrs McCarthy and helping to make a difference.

She said: “I think it’s just a great opportunity. I’ve volunteered at sporting events abroad before but I’ve never done anything like this. I’ve always wanted to do some volunteer work with CAFOD so this my chance to do something similar.”

Mrs McCarthy needs to raise £2,700 to fund her trip while Mrs Molumby’s target is £3,200. Visit their JustGiving pages here:

They are looking to take basic teaching supplies out to South Africa with them including pens, rulers, glue sticks and Post-it notes. If you would like to donate items please take them to Saint John Houghton CVA, in Abbott Road, Kirk Hallam, and Saint Benedict CVA, in Duffield Road, Derby.

With support from 25,000 volunteers, Mellon Educate has built houses for 125,000 homeless people in South Africa’s poorest townships and the charity has pledged to provide better education for more than 100,000 African children.

To find out more information visit the Mellon Educate website

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