Feb 122013
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Students Pull Together for the Migrant Workers 

In October of 2012, St Christopher’s students launched 3 initiatives to help out the migrant workers here on the Island.

1 Recycling Clothing Project

At the Infant and Junior school in Saar, staff and parents donated clothing to be recycled. This clothing was then sorted, bagged and donated to the 82 migrant workers who were working on the construction of the new Swimming Complex.  Students, staff and parents are all aware that it can become bitterly cold in the cooler months and many workers do not have appropriate clothing to wear. Just before Christmas, the workers were presented with their bags full of clothes. At the Senior School, clothing was also recycled and blankets were bought with the money raised by a Sixth Form Mufti Day. These bags were given to each of the 60 cleaners who work in the Saar and Isa Town Schools.

2 Rucksack Appeal

The Senior School had a vision to give the local migrant workers something substantial for the arrival of the cold and the rain, a rucksack filled with essentials which would come in handy during the cooler months. Year 7 students collected a rucksack each and brought them into school, Year 8 students collected toiletries for the workers, ones that they otherwise could not afford, Year 9 students donated plenty of  stationery: pencils, paper, pens and envelopes,  Year 10 students collected socks, Year 11 students donated blankets to fight against the cold evening temperature and Sixth Form students donated tinned food and money, which was used to buy even more blankets. In one massive effort,  all 164 students in Year 7 pulled together in the Sports Hall with their teachers and Head of Year to sort, fold, pack and count the rucksacks and the fillers. A truly amazing 40 minutes where students excitedly collaborated and chatted while they evenly distributed the essentials into each rucksack. Mrs Noora Feleyfel, from the Migrant Workers Protection Society of Bahrain, congratulated the proud students on their effort – 106  filled rucksacks ready to brighten a worker’s day.

On 18 of January 2013, the rucksacks were taken to a Labour Camp in Jidhafs and distributed to the men living there. Students and teachers from St Chris went along too, eager to see where the rucksacks would go and to meet those who would receive them. Along with the rucksacks,  St Christopher’s School donated 5 large oil filled heaters to heat up the cold bare rooms during these chilly months.  “It is always important for the students and parents to see tangible evidence of their charity initiatives, coming here today is a grounding experience. To see those less fortunate receive something that will truly make a difference to their day and to the next few weeks, perhaps months is very rewarding – for staff and students alike.” said Kirsty McKay, the Senior School’s Community Development Officer.

3 Raising Funds

During November 2012, Year 8 students participated in the “BD 1  Challenge” as part of the School’s Enrichment programme. The challenge was to turn a loan of BD 1 into as much money as possible. Entrepreneurial students held Bake Sales, Car Washes, Movie Nights and even a “Sponge the Teacher” stall which was, of course, highly popular! The challenge ran for two weeks and helped raise over BD 1800, BD 1500 of which the Year Group decided to donate to the Migrant Workers Association. Head of Year 8 Mr O’Dowd said “As well as learning some important lessons about the fundamentals of business, the students have also learnt how good it feels to make a real difference to the lives of those less fortunate than themselves through sheer hard work. We are delighted to be able to continue helping out the Migrant Workers Association in this way. The students themselves chose this charity and they have taken a real interest in the work of the MWPS, it has made a real impression on them”. Teresa Mohan from the MWPS told the St Christopher’s Group that the money raised would partly be used to support the workers and their families, who  tragically lost their lives or were injured in the recent horrific fire in the Mukharqa area of Manama on Friday 11 January.