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You are in: South Yorkshire > SY People > Your stories > From SY to Lesotho

Some of the students with Ken Dunn

Ken (right) with some of the students

From SY to Lesotho

Students from Royston High in Barnsley and The City School in Sheffield jetted off to Lesotho with the primary aim of boosting the numbers of children in education in 2005.

This diary was part of the Africa Lives Season in 2005

A joint trip by members of two schools in South Yorkshire is set to begin. The group are embarking on a development project to help the people of Malealea, a small village in Lesotho, Southern Africa.

The plan is to bring sustainable power, plant trees to halt soil erosion, and carry out engineering work which will provide wells and reservoirs for one of the poorest areas in the region.

All of the work will be carried out by the students and the team will also provide computers for the village school. The majority of the work is directed towards increasing the numbers of children in Malealea's school.

Boy stands leaning on the village sign in Malealea

Ken and the students will be welcome

The project is the brainchild of an inspirational man, Ken Dunn, Assistant Headteacher of The City School, Sheffield. As a geography teacher at Royston High he went on a walking trip to Lesotho and was struck by the poverty he encountered there.

But it wasn't a totally negative experience for Ken. He also realised the potential to dramatically change the quality of peoples' lives by spending comparatively small sums of money.

In the beginning

Ken or Mr Dunn to the students, embarked on an award-winning geography project in a school courtyard which became a mini-eco system boasting solar and wind power which drove a science project with a river and experimental planting.

The sustainable power element of the project spawned a third world aid charity, the Malealea Development Trust. This gave Ken the idea to set up the technology needed to help the people of Lesotho and last year he returned with 16 students.

Ken and the students brought electric light to the village school for the first time, and also set up a wind generator in the village.

Students sorting shoes

Some of the students sort donated goods

Ken, who is an accomplished photographer, has since been made a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and received the Ordinance Survey Teacher of the Year Award.

The party will travel overland in huge all-terrain buses from South Africa, visiting townships, the Kruger National wildlife Park and there's even a chance they might get to meet Nelson Mandela!


Formerly known as Basutoland Lesotho has a population of around 2 million people and is where Prince Harry travelled to help with overseas aid. He visited the same small village that the students aim to transform.

The nation, for around 200 years was controlled by the British and Boer authorities before gaining full independence in 1966. However the experience of its people was very different to those of the native South Africans.

The project

The project is an excellent example of small-scale sustainable development project in practice. They have managed to raise nearly £45,000 and hope to make substantial improvements to the quality of life for people of Malealea.

Mr Dunn with some messages of support on a sapling

Ken shows just a handful of the messages

What the Trust will provide:

Renewable Energy; To provide lighting for the village and information communications technology via the build of a wind turbine, solar panels and solar cookers.

Communications link; To provide education and communication opportunities via computer and video conferencing equipment.

Environmental sustainability; To prevent soil erosion and provide clean water via the creation of four wells, a reservoir and a tree planting scheme.

School partnership; To provide educational materials for Malealea High School by supplying books and equipment for use within the school.

Aids epidemic; To work with the community to tackle the problem via funding and materials for the Malealea clinic. (Estimates, said to be conservative say that over one third of the Lasotho population are infected with HIV).

Daily diary

The students will be sending us regular diary entries to keep us all informed as to their progress and experiences. They received some advice from BBC Look North's Sam Wichelow and Ed Young who gave some handy tips on how to shoot footage to be edited on their return.

BBC journalist Sam Wichelow gives camera tips

Sam gives some camera advice to the students

Staff members from the two schools, community groups and churches have written over 1000 messages for the Lesotho people on tree shaped paper. These will be hung on those saplings planted.

One from Sybil, a teacher at The City School wrote; "May the shade of the tree bless you and the fruit nourish you - God cares for you."

The Malealea Development Trust is attracting local and national support and people are sponsoring children's education and fund the planting fruit and forest trees.

Bookmark this page for regular diary entries from the students as they work towards the goals set out for the project.

For more details on sponsorship visit The City School website.

last updated: 22/05/2008 at 11:55
created: 09/06/2005

Have Your Say

Are you a student at one of the two schools or a friend or parent? Send your mesages of support here.

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Emily Harding
it is an unforgetable experience! thanks for a brill time! i hope i get to go back in the future!

alex loach
the expedition was fantastic thank you rick (manuel)'n' lesley

glad youv all come home

Danielle Tallant
Well i went on the expedition and looking at the photos on this site ant half sent memories floodin back to me. i only wish i could have stayed much more longer.Also i just wish that people in England could see how peole live in Africa then maybe they wouldn't take things from granted as much.

Gaynor Goss
I too have just come back from Lesotho. I am an infant teacher in Horley, Surrey and three of us went out to visit our link school in Leribe (Hlotse. We had the most fantastic week and have made some lasting friendships just as you did. Lesotho is the most wonderful country and the people are so warm and friendly. I am definitley going back! We have also developed and strengthened our link. It would be interesting to hear your views too. Although we are only an infant school we can still develop our links (although I can't imagine taking children out there!!!) Be in touch Gaynor Goss

lauren francis ringrose
i dont understand this iste

emma hyman
hey missed u all dearly

micheal woollen
the experdition to malealea was fab and i feel better knowing that people around the world have got better things for them now go on city school

jade bailey
at school me and mr dunn get on really well i like the staff at school and i think anne crossland is really kind

Caroline and Darren Beeden
hiya loz b we missed u loadz even daniel glad u got all them gr8 photo's and glad u had an excellent time luv ya mum n dad

jade lauren bailey
miss warne how wonderful our school is

lauren francis ringrose
hi sir i would like to say on behalf off the city school WELL DONE XX

Sean Cheney
it was an amazing expedition. it opened my eys to lots of things. i wish i could have stayed longer.

jade lauren bailey
mr dunn your so very wonderfull i relli am glad you are safe and well love jade xxxxxx

Kayleigh Cowlishaw
Hi Mr Dunn im so happy that you were able to visit Malealea again, a place were dreams can come true. Malealea for me and im sure for the rest of our team, was an experience of a life time and i know i will never forget those 17 special days in South Africa. Anyway keep up the good work and make your dream come true last forever all the best for the future and good luck to the new group love kayleigh x

James Thurman
i went on the expedition and it was fantastic we all enjoyed every minute of it

Adam Oldale
I think you have done fab you have gave the city school a great reputation and you also have done me proud

Mum & Richard
On the net at last , lots of love Lianne

rhianna davies
hope uv ad a good time gareth n the rest of royston high hope uv bought me summin only kiddin cant wait for u to cum home missin u (only a bit i hope ur missin me) SEE U SOON lots a luv rhianna .********************

to every1 hope ur all avin a gud time cant wait to see u all and no wat ur av ben duin ur all bk in sheffield on monday rnt ur lucky wev all mised u megz p cant wait 2 c u luv saz + amy

samantha kirkby
to hannah and lauren hope you are having a good time

Angela, Chris & Matt
Hi Beth, last few days before you're home. Keep taking lots of photos,can't wait to see them. We are following you all everyday on the internet. Take care and don't forget to look at your revision books! Phone when you can, see you soon, love mum,dad and Matt x x

sophie priest
Reanne... were all missing you loads really hope ur ok. dont realise how much you miss your friends till there gone, its wierd u being all them million miles away!!! i realy hope your enjoying this experience of a lifetime!!!ur so lucky. im so proud of you-one of my oldest friends. cant wait to give you a hug hope ur safe and ok lots of love from all of us sophie priest xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Parents, families & friends
Sir Bob Geldolf - if anyone deserves tickets to live8 it must be these dedicated pupils who have left their home comforts and made a difference to the lives of the children in Malealea ! Well done ! we are very proud of you all !

Megan (big sis)
hiya charlotte jus thought id say hello sorry i couldnt speak to you for very long the other night, but it sounded like you were having a great time! you havent missed anything much here except a lot of rain lol! guess you will be on your way back now, well all i'll say is we have got a suprise for you wen you get home. say hi to emma and james for me and i'll see ya soon luv ya x x

Aunt Angie & Uncle Gary
Hi Gareth, sorry your trip is drawing to a close. We look forward to seeing you and looking at all your photo's (not all at once thought). Hope you all have a safe journey home and don't forget to study for you exam. Lots of love Aunt Gary & Uncle Gary

Auntie Heather
Hiya Charlotte hope you are enjoying your time in Malealea we are all very proud.

Stephen,Sharon & Thomas
Hi James Looking forward to you coming home on Sunday, We are missing you loads. Enjoy the last few days, Well Done Son we are very proud of you. Have a safe journey home. Love Bab, Dad & Tom XXX

David White (former City School teacher)
Delighted to learn of the progress and success of the project for all involved - young people from South Yorkshire and in Malealea and the commitment of teachers, parents/carers, friends and community organisations. A life-changing experience.

Ken Dunn,s Sister
We have all been reading your progress reports with great interest. Erin was popular at Scothern School during their Africa week when she bought in your diary reports. Mum was uplifted by your call today. Have a safe journey home. Love Ang & family.

Auntie Andrea
To Sean Cheney - I have enjoyed reading everyone's stories about the trip and I look forward to hearing more about it when you come home. Love to you and all your schoolfriends and teachers and I wish you a safe journey home. Love Auntie Andrea xxx

mum rhianna
hope your time in malealea was everything you dreamed of fetch some nice weather back as we are delivering your papers in the rain love hugs and kisses mum

kayla n lel
hiya!!! hope ur all havin a good time wer in IT livin up the good british weather yeah man its rainin haha ne way cya soon luv us xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxmwah hi 2 ur new friends byebye

katie, samantha, and carrie
missin u at skool, not much happened. can't wait to hear about it cya soon hannah and lauren b

Sarah Burton
Not many days left now.Hope you've taken lots of photos. Missing you can't wait for Sunday.Try and ring. Love Mum, Dad & Sarah

Graham and susan
Kerry hope your having a great time saw your report on website you have all done a great job very proud of you all cant wait till you get back and fill us in love mum and dad and gerry

Charlotte sorry we missed your calls, can't wait to see you and hear all you stories and see your photo's.We're following your diary entries on the internet,with you all the way(well wish we were!!!)Lots of love from us to you

chan n tash
hi em n meg hope ur avin a great time and ur ok were missing you loads enjoy tourself luv ya tash n chan

katie brown
hi hannah and loz missin ya hurry up bak hope you are having a gud time

Claire Smith
Hi matthew (matt!!) hope your having as much fun as i did and working hard! i wont be here when you get back but ill see you wen i get back sunday night. Keep up the good work love claire xxx

Barbara, Rachel's Auntie
Rachel Hope you are having a wonderful time, we are proud of you. Enjoy your last few days of this wonderful experience. Lots of love AB, UP, Granny, AJ, H, R, J, & R

Left at home Mums, Dads and families
Thanks BBC for providing this great opportunity to share in the experiences of the group.

Rachel’s Mum & Ged
Hello Rachel and everyone. Just arrived back home to see the fantastic diary entries and photos. Just what we need when you are so far away in such a different culture and we are missing you. Hope you are enjoying the experience along with the hard work. (Rachel, head to toe in mud?? Your ideal!) Look after yourselves and Mr Dunn. Missing you loads. Love Mum & Ged. P.S. Eddie is fine, he can now say "Where's Rachel?", Helen has looked after him well.

Simon Dev
Yo gaz, matt and jowitt. I hope you are having a brill time. Am missin u loads(am not going soft by the way). Cant wait till you get back, u av missed lods of stuff. And gaz, all of the 1 star traning group say good and bring im all back south africa rock made in blackpool. SEYA ON THIS WEEKEND!!!!

Hi Meg! Hope your having a great time and have been working hard. Missing you lots so im sending you a big hug. Have fun and see you in a few days love you lots Laura x x x P.S Hello Emily, Reanne and everyone else x

steph parry
hiya charlie n emma!!! ope ur ok n avin a gd time. me bex n zoe got loadsa gossip 4 ya wen ya get bk. c u soon lv ya lv steph xxxxxxxxx

MuM Mick Jak Jess and Emily(LOZ,s Family)
We miss you but are all so proud of you all,the diary has touched everyone and is fantastic, all our love.

Diane Neil &Buddy Gore
Hi Alex hope you are all ok and enjoyed your days in Malealea ,enjoy the rest of the trip cant wait for Sunday missing you lots luv mum dad and bud

Hiya guys Missing you both loads hope you get this message SEE YOU ON SUNDAY! love lindsey xx

Sue,Graham and Sophie
Kerry missing you very much but also very proud hope your having a brilliant and memorable time love you and cant wait to see you p.s Sophie keeps asking for you Love mum and dad ou hope you

Norma Loach
Hi Al Hope you are ok and enjoying the experience. We are all really missing you but know you will have lots to tell us when you get back. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Lots of love xxx

Dad & Arl
Hi em, (sunday 12th) last day in the village, hope you worked hard and enjoyed it. Sure we'll get a call from you soon. well done all of you. luv u em. D&A

hi em, hope you and your team mates are enjoying the experience,c u soon. lot's of love from Gran,Did and Arl x

Uncle Gary & Aunt Angie
Hi Gareth, hope you are having the time of your life. Enjoy the rest of the journey together with your friends and we will see you soon.

grandma grandad haigh
hope your having a smashing time miss you lots wish i was there with you see you soon

Neil,Jane n Sam
Charlotte Hope you are ok and working hard.Enjoy this wonderful experience you have worked hard for it.We are all missing you lots.Luv Dad Mum n Ratty

Dave , Em's dad
Monday 13th June, you guys should be heading for home now, missed you Em, but very proud of you and all of your expedition buddies! Hope you've all had a fantastic experience, and I'm sure you've done some good.

Cheryl, Andy, Aiden Tallant
Hi Danielle hope you are having a great time. We are really proud of you and know you wil be a great team member, see you soon love you loads mum, dad and aiden

Chris, John & Laura Hodkinson
Megs, Hope you are enjoying every minute of this extraordinary experience. We keep a check on where you are and what the weather is like. We are proud of you and everyone on the expedition Take care. All our love Mum, Dad & Loz.

Chris and Angela Oliver
Hi Beth and friends, sounds like things are going well.Love you diary write ups.Phone when you can. Matt is missing u! love mum,dad & Matt.

karen Harding
Hi emz and everyone, looked at site in cyprus so proud of all you're doing. hope you have lots of photos and that you've bought your blanket, enjoy Kruger love mum.

Tracey Jon&Chloe Jowitt
Hi Gaz hope you r having good time.Ring us when u can.Dad & Chloe say hi.Say hi to the rest. See u sunday

Aunty Duby
Kosta, Hope you are having a lovely time, it must be great meeting all the local people and experiencing a whole new culture. Keep up the good work and well done to the whole team. Best wishes, Aunty Duby and the Selston Massive.

Elizabeth Karagounis
Hello Kosta, enjoy yourself and enjoy all that space and fresh air.Wish I was there with you all. Bring back lots of photos See you soon.

Sarah Burton
Hope you're having a good time. Missing you. Got your card Sat am. (Don't forget Mum's bday fri sorted your card)Ring when you can. Love Sarah, Mum and Dadxxx

uncle gary sez yul b on ur 3rd pair of underpants now were all misin u hope the weathers nicer over there than it is over ere today +++ ****

biddie bidford ( joseph wood)
oreight hebry!(william wood) ar ya doin, av a mint trippy, and dont go crazy and get dunn cause, just dunt, bee!

Sharon and Paul Priestley
Matthew-thinking about you everyday, knowing you will be having a great time. we are all proud of you, keep safe, see you next Sunday love mum, dad simon, craig and stacey XXXX

Yvonne Wood
William, Hope you are having a wonderful advenuture, miss you and love you loads, Mum

Chris and Vasiliki
Kosta we're very proud of you. Hope you are making a difference. Remember the butterfly effect. Missing you.

David, Georgi and Gabe.
Hi there, hope ur having a good time and taking lots of pics. Missing u lots. Don't forget to bring us something back lol Weather here is cold and miserable + we have school. Hope ur having a better time than us

i think you have done a amazing job. i wish that when i was at school i was given the oppertunity to do the same thing.

Becky Clark
Lauren hurry up home, its not a laugh at dinners with out you. Hope your having a really good time. We are missing you lots. You haven't missed much here, and dont get too tanned. Lots of love Becky c XxXxXx


Kathleen & Andrew Cains
I'm so proud of my brother, Ken and the students of both schools. It is a wonderful project bringing aid in a dignified way to deserving people. The joy that radiates from those happy faces warms the spirit. It is good to be a part of that joy. K

hope your all havin a good time over there.hope youve washed ur soks sez mum luv ya n miss ya and were very proud of you see ya soon luv mum rhianna ****!!!!and uv gotta lot a heart

Auntie Jayne, Uncle Neil, James(c/w shiner), Sam,
Hi Emma. Missing you loads, have the time of your life. We can only imagine the experiences you must be having. Love from us all xxxxx

Geoff Cheney
Hi Sean got your postcard, It sounds as if you are seeing some amazing sights, some more thought provoking than others. Enjoy the experience its a wonderful thing you are doing, both me and mum are very proud. Make sure you take lots of photos!! to make me even more envious! See you soon. Love Mum and Dad.

dad brodigan
charlie great to see you on t'internet have fun and miss you

Jayne Huntington
Hi emma, hope you having a fantastic time missing you loads.x

hannah barker + lewis tyree
hello there im lewis + hannah i attend the city school Mr dunn is a very bright man he cares not only for the pupils of the city school put the pupils of malealea i want to wish mr ken dunn all the best for the future and in everything you dunn well done CITY

lewis tyree
hello there im lewis i attend the city school Mr dunn is a very bright man he cares not only for the pupils of the city school put the pupils of malealea i want to wish mr ken dunn all the best for the future and in everything you dunn well done CITY

Cheryl, Andy, Aiden Tallant
Hi Danielle and Emily, we hope you are having a great time, know you will be working hard, it was great to hear your voice when you rang Danielle, hope you are taking loads of photos and bring back loads of stories to tell us, love and miss you loads ring when you can love mum, dad and aiden xxxx

Sue,Kay, Shirl and the rest of the gang
Happy belated birthday wishes to Lesley. Hope you are all enjoying the experience, keep up the good work, and have a safe journey home.

ian brodigan
well done charlotte proud of you and all your fellow pupils

Stephen Loach
Alex, hope everything is going well and you are enjoying every minute. we miss you and can't wait for you to get back and tell us all about your trip. Luv, Dad, Karla, Dominic and Shae.

Lucie, Bronley, Charlotte n Tasha!!
Hope your all havin a gud time n we hope da weather is nice. Megan hope u've seen sum animals we miss u n cnt wait 2 see u, enjoy the trip Luv Lucie, Charlotte, Bronley n Tasha xxxxxx

Duncan Poole (Science Teacher)
I'm really glad to hear you're doing well- it's great to read about your progess. Best of luck with all the projects!

zoe heath n tanya simms
rean,megan,em,char, hope ur havin a gud time and i seen u on internet.gibby sez hi 2 emma!jamie sez hi 2 char!luv ya all zoe n tan xxx

daniella barry
all i have to say is that the students form both schools have got heart at gold to go to another country and help like what they doing now and the teachers.

Bronley Parker
Hi Emily, Megan n Reanne!! I hope your all havin a great time n i hope the weather is nice!! Im missin u already but u havnt missed much over here. Take sum photos 2 show us. I hope u all get a tan n enjoy the rest of your trip!! C ya soom Luv ya Luv Bronley xxxxx PS reanne wen u get ome ring me about dat early outreach fing (lol) xxx

Terry Smith
Matthew - Thanks for the phonecalls, please call when you can. Can you try to get a photo of Claire's friend from the last expedition, and a photo for the Army. Good luck, love Mum, Dad & Claire

Rebecca Trigg
Hi lauren k i hope you are having a nice time and not having to much fun. Cant believe you have been there a week already its flew we are all really missing you at school and cant wait for you to get back i hope you havent been bit by the bed bugs and i bet it is really hot over there and you have got a tan i am really dissapointed that i didnt get to go on the trip i would have loved to have gone see you soon love becky

chantelle Eckhardt
hi em meg n reanne hope ur avin a nice time fetch me sumat nice bak bet its really hot dont let da bed bugs bite n i mean dat cause they will especially wen ya sleepin in DA OPEN SPACE LV YA CHANNY P.S DONT FORGET 2 FETCH ME SUMAT BACK XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Lindsey Rice
Hiya emz and charlie hope ur havin a great time ur not missin much here see you soon. luv ya lindsey

zoe heath amy forrest becky kay
best mates to emma n char.good luck and enjoy your experience of a life time.missin u loadz and cant wait to see u. love ya amy,zoe,becky xXx

neil diane chris gore
alex very proud of you know you will be an asset to the team missing you loads take care lots of love dad mum chris

stephen barry
i just want to say you a very kind people at heart and tell miss. hannah burton thankz for being a goood tutor

aunty al
hope you are having a fantastic time, we are thinking of you - enjoy yourself be safe and well done we are very proud love you loads xxxx

Naomi and April
Hi good luck Leanne!! and all the other pupils. take care everyone here are catching up on all the news! hope you have a great time tc love from april and naomi x x x x x p.s we hope you all did/do get to meet Nelson Mandela! you've worked hard and deserve everything that you get out of the trip!

Julie Warne, Headteacher
We're all very proud of the hard work and commitment of the students and staff who are taking part in this fantastic project. We wish them the very best of luck -and a life-changing experience!

Damian Grant, London
I worked as a teacher in neighbouring Botswana from 1999 - 2002. I actually visited Malealea Lodge several times during my holiday travels and understand exactly where you're coming from with this magnificent project! Words fail me! Students, staff and everyone else involved should be immensely proud of themselves. Brilliant!!!!

Heya ryan its mum and laura best of luck hope to see you soon love you xx

Lianne Key
Hope you are working hard. Thinking of you Love darryl,jane,Madison,Jessica & Ashley

Stephen, Sharon & Thomas Thurman
James - We are following your progress on the map at home and are with you all the way. Work hard and enjoy every moment of this wonderful experience. Love Baboo, Dad, Tom & Winston XXXX

Dad knubbley
lauren - take care, best of luck - we are dead proud of you! luv, dad, sue, lucy sam and oliver xxxxxx

Mandy Cheney
A life changing experience for all the students involved. They have all worked extremely hard undertaking different fundraising events to make the expedition possible. Well done to you all.

Florence Jones
Best of luck you have all worked very hard. Love Aunt Flo and Uncle Brian

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