A FUNDRAISING exercise in support of under-privileged children in a village on the other side of the world has developed into a labour of love for two former pupils of a Dorset school.

Teagan Galloway and Mini Mitchell – former Bryanston School pupils – played key roles in helping to raise money for the Happy Kids Kindergarten on the south west coast of Sri Lanka through Bryanston’s A2 Charities Weekend.

More than 60 children under the age of five have benefitted from Ms Galloway’s and Ms Mitchell’s dedication and the earlier success of the charity drive by Bryanston pupils.

Now Ms Mitchell is founder and head of the Kindergarten for Akurala (KFA) charity and Ms Galloway continues to raise funds.

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Ms Mitchell said: “The kindergarten has been a really fulfilling community project and it’s so gratifying to be making such a difference for so many youngsters in the village as well as their families.

The Happy Kids Kindergarten was devastated by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and the Sri Lankan government were unable to continue to fund it. It has now reopened in temporary accommodation thanks to Ms Mitchells fundraising through the KFA.

Thanks to the success of fundraising by Bryanston's pupils, new building is being reconstructed and furnished by the charity.

Ms Mitchell added: “Closure of the kindergarten presented a real dilemma for young families in the area as childcare responsibilities compromised the parents’ ability to secure employment and the children were not being given the early introduction to English that is so important for their future education.

“As a result, there was little prospect of breaking the cycle of poverty and the lack of opportunity in the local community.

“The kindergarten has helped to change all of that and the smiles on the faces of the children and their parents are wonderful to see. It really does make all of the hard work so worthwhile.”

As part of her support for the charity, Ms Galloway has completed an Iron Man endurance programme – which raised £800 to fund stationary, uniforms, masks and shoes for the kindergarten.

Ms Galloway said: “The number of children enrolled at the kindergarten has more than doubled over the past few months which shows just how much the local community value such a facility.

“It truly has been a pleasure to be involved in this project and I have been keeping in regular virtual contact with everyone in Akurala.

“I can’t wait to visit the village and to meet parents and children from the local community, and I’m really looking forward to seeing and taking part in classes in the kindergarten’s new building.”

The new kindergarten building is due to open this month.


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