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Willoughby School in Bourne helps Burlgarian refugee camp

Refugees Shawa and the Miraf at the Harmanli camp in Bulgaria, wearing clothes donated by the Willoughby School in Bourne. EMN-150303-104738001
Refugees Shawa and the Miraf at the Harmanli camp in Bulgaria, wearing clothes donated by the Willoughby School in Bourne. EMN-150303-104738001

Pupils, parents and teachers have joined an appeal for old clothes to send to young refugees in a camp in Bulgaria.

Earlier this year the Willoughby School in Bourne collected clothing and toys to send to pupils at a school in the Harmanli refugee camp.

Originally the school was for children aged five and under, but founders decided to expand it to those aged up to 18 due to huge demand.

Headteacher Adam Booker said the appeal was a great way for the Willoughby to support its Rights Respecting School status, which was awarded by Unicef last year. Part of the requirement for the award was to teach pupils about children in different parts of the world

Mr Booker added: “The parents were wonderfully responsive, as usual.

“We thought it would be good to see if we could do something to show that we are always an outward-looking school. Now some of the pupils are swapping letters with the kids in Bulgaria, which is great.

“Our pupils have really been up for it. If the school can help just one child in Bulgaria then the world is a better place.”

The Harmanli refugee camp was set up to cope with an influx of people escaping conflict in the Middle East. Most walked hundreds of miles to find safety.

The aim of the school is to teach the children English in the hope they can move on one day to a brighter future.

Sadie Clasby, whose mother Gil set up the school, said: “Most children arrive in Bulgaria with only the clothes they are wearing. These are normally not weather-appropriate and quickly become very scruffy. Parents cannot afford to buy new clothes as they have spent the last of their money on getting to Europe.

“When the children have new clothes from donations they have a reason to feel special and smile again, even more so when they are told the clothes are from England.

“All the children who come to our play school say it is the only good thing about their refugee camp. We would not be able to run our school if it wasn’t for a few kind people who have donated resources and toys.

“Seeing a refugee child come into the room filled with excitement because he has spotted a new toy to play with is a truly brilliant sight.”


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