Archive for the ‘Schools’ Category


Visiting the schools in Yorkshire

Monday, June 25th, 2012

After Bikeabout Ambleside I had a day to prepare for my visit to Hawes and Middleham schools. Both schools have been followingour trip for over a year. We had had Skype chats and emails during this time but now we were going to meet in person.

I was looked after well by Mr E and Mrs M and her family, and supplied with plenty of food to curb my huge appetite that had not disappeared yet. I had been eating about 5000 – 6000 calories a day in the weeks before returning to England to give me enough fuel to cycle long distances and live happily with sub zero temperatures in an Alpkit bivi bag.

My first day was spent at Hawes School. During the assembly I got to meet the whole school and was presented with a large tin of money that they kids had raised for Child’s Dream. It is quite amazing what a school with less than 100 pupils can do.

The rest of the morning was spent visiting different classrooms and sharing a selection of pictures from different countries. I was really happy with how the kids engaged. From each picture we could talk about a range of topic from culture, religion, wildlife to science and geography.

During lunch time I got to sample some of the school dinners and spend some time chatting with the kids. It was great to have been asked so many interesting questions.

With a full tummy I sat down in front of the green screen and was interviewed by some of the older students about the trip. Check out their great interview skills http://hawesps.posterous.com/a-soapbox-special-interview-with-the-travelle .

To round off the day we went outside to battle light winds and the cold, to put up the tent. The kids looked at all the different things that I carry in my bags paying close attention to what I used to sleep in and keep warm at night. The sleeping bag and camping mats went down well and we were able to explore how heat is lost and how we can prevent this. Having a cold Yorkshire day outside made the learning experience so much more real.

The next day I arrived at Middleham school, ready for another big day. Many of the kids brought their bikes to school and the local PCSO’s were in school to teach the kids some safe cycling. As well as this, the Middleham school mums and maybe dads, had been busy baking for ‘Buns for Bikeabout’. During lunch time and home time buns and cakes were on sale and all the money went to Child’s Dream. A whopping £158.25 was raised, brilliant for a small school and some homemade buns!

My day at Middleham was also full of sharing and relating. The contents of the bags were emptied out and the kids got a good look at all of the things I carried with me. With Mrs M class we had a big discussion about what kind of things you would take if you were going to India. In the afternoon we put up the tent Mrs M got to try out my sleeping mat and we cooked up some beans on the stove. Another brilliant day, check out the video the school made about my visit.

 

A big thanks to both schools for having me and for helping raise money for Child’s Dream. I hope I can come back one day and share some more of my adventures with you.

Next time I’ll be sharing the journey I took across Europe in the winter to get back to England!

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St Swithun’s Banner Competition

Monday, February 6th, 2012

I set the students at St Swithun’s School in Winchester a challenge to created drawings to go on the welcome home banner for Bikeabout London on 11th Feb, to welcome Chris home.

Having spent all day with them telling them about our trip, showing photos and letting them see all of our equipment, they had plenty to go on.  Together with Teacher Karen Sprunt, we suggested that they think about what Chris might have missed whilst being away and also what type of bike you might want to do a round the world trip.

The pupils also raised £100 for our charity,  Child’s Dream in the process, by paying to enter the competition. These are the winning entries…

A huge well done and thank you to everyone who entered, and congratulations to the winners:

Grace aged 6

Rose aged 9

Alice L aged 8

Melissa aged 8

Madeleine aged 9

Jessie aged 4 – overall winner!

Sarah aged 10

Keturah aged 4

Alice aged 7

Hermione aged 5

Phoebe aged 10

Em aged 10

I am very impressed at the level of detail in the pictures, the colourfulness and creativity, but also how much thought went into the drawings. I’m sure that Chris will be very touched when he sees the big welcome home banner as he reaches Greenwich, London.

THANK YOU ST SWITHUN’S!!

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Visiting St Swithun’s School, Winchester

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

My family moved to Winchester when I was 18 and I only really spent a brief period there attending Winchester School of Art for a year, before going off to University. However my mum and dad have lived there ever since and have a wonderful circle of friends and it’s a lovely place to live.

Since being home, I have been lucky enough to be invited by our friend Karen, into St Swithun’s Junior School in Winchester, to meet the girls and talk about our Bikeabout trip.

Cycling past the senior school at 8 o’clock on the cold Monday morning, I was half expecting Hogwarts. It is a lovely traditional grand old building that greets you and I was feeling a little nervous. The line up for the day was to talk to each year group for about an hour, with some activities along the way. I had plenty to talk about and a mountain of photos that I had printed and prepared in advance, but an hour still sounded like a long time.

I needn’t have worried though, the time races by when you are surrounded by children and they were so interested in the bike and all my stuff that the questions flowed easily.

We covered altitude sickness and mountains…

Hinduism in Bali, Indonesia with a class learning about India. Nursery and reception were learning about hot and cold, so we had fun dressing up in all my warm clothes and winter gear, as did the other year groups!

Trying out my down cocoon style sleeping bag proved to be very popular…

so was trying out my thermarest chair…

The older girls used my bike to work out number of rotations, distance and calculating circumference of a circle (wheel) as part of their maths lesson and I learned that my wheels are, surprisingly, 2 metres all the way round, meaning it takes 500 rotations to cover 1000 metres (1 kilometre)!

Another class was learning about customs and cultures, so in groups we looked at things we might have to consider when going to a temple or an important local place, what to wear,  copying locals if you are not sure; what to do if you are invited into someone’s house or yurt; ways to communicate even if you can’t speak the language and we realised that gesture, mime and body language can be very useful, as well as being able to draw!

We also thought about things you might want to be able to say in the other person’s language. This allowed the girls to think about phrases that are not just useful for them (how much, where is, numbers), but things they could say to make the other person happy or at ease with having a foreigner there… thank you, the food is delicious, your country is lovely, nice to meet you, you have beautiful children, you are very kind. In my experience being able to connect with people and show or say this kind of sentiment can be more meaningful than ‘Where is the train station?’.

The girls were great to be with and enthusiastic about the trip, asking lots of intelligent questions. Some of the girls had parents who had met in the rainforest in Indonesia, others had aunts and uncles who were expedition medics, some had family living in other countries and it was really nice to hear their stories and thoughts about travelling in other countries.

The girls were interested in first aid and we talked about that during the day, luckily for us I had no gruesome injury stories to tell, and we talked about what ifs? for a while, although I was grateful to the teacher who pointed out that if we spent too much time worrying about what if, we’d never leave the house! Hear, hear.

Toilets were also an area of interest and I had fun watching their faces as I described the squat toilets in Asia, holes in the ground in Mongolia and communal trough style loos in China!

During Assembly, after some fabulous singing, I was able to tell the whole school about our charity Child’s Dream and our ambition to raise enough money to build a school. We launched a competition for the girls to enter, challenging them to draw a picture to go on the welcome home banner for Bikeabout London on 11th Feb, to welcome  Chris home to the UK. The winning entries will be printed on the large banner and the students pay a pound to enter. Watch this space!

So I had a great day at St Swithun’s and I’d forgotten how nice it is to be in a primary school, so colourful and energetic! I was shattered by the time I got home, it’s exhausting – I don’t know how teachers do it everyday, hats off to them – makes cycle touring look easy.

The staff and students all made me very welcome and I really enjoyed spending time with everyone there, so a big thank you to Karen for organising it and to everyone at St Swithun’s Junior school for letting me join them for a day.

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16,000km and 29 months later, British Cyclists return to the UK

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Bikeabout London – Join us!

Bikeabout London | Liz & Chris in MongoliaTemperatures of 40°C in Malaysia and Australia, 4000m mountain passes in China, teaching English in a remote hill tribe village in Thailand, sand storms in the Gobi desert and a wedding engagement en route, have all been part of the adventure for Chris Leakey and Liz Wilton.

The couple flew from England to Auckland, New Zealand in September 2009 and started cycling back home, through Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany and France.

Liz and Chris are celebrating the end of the journey with cycling events in Greenwich, London and Ambleside in Cumbria. Dubbed ‘Bikeabout London’ and ‘Bikeabout Ambleside’.

The couple hope the events will raise awareness of the charity Child’s Dream that they have been supporting throughout their trip.  Their aim is to raise £20,000 to build a school in Southeast Asia for underprivileged children.

At each event there will be a raffle and an auction to win prizes donated by some of their sponsors.  All proceeds go towards building  the school. Those wishing to make larger or additional donations can do so from the bikeabout website, or on the day.

Bikeabout London will take place  on Saturday 11th February 2012, starting in Gravesend and ending at The Gypsy Moth Pub in Greenwich.  You are invited to join Liz and Chris for the last few miles on your bike, to celebrate the success of their journey and welcome them home. The ride will end at the The Gypsy Moth Pub in Greenwich where there will be an opportunity to meet Chris and Liz, as well as joining their fundraising party during the afternoon.

Bikeabout Ambleside will finish in Ambleside on the 19th February 2012 times and details to be confirmed.

At each event Chris and Liz will be giving a short speech and there will be time to answer questions before the celebrating begins. To contact the couple before the events for interviews and for more details, please see our Bikeabout London web page.

mobile : 07736970101  |  email: hello@bikeabout.co.uk

Bikeabout London Information

Starting at Gravesend, Chris and Liz will be picking up the Sustrans cycle network on National Route 1. This is 90% traffic free and runs along the river, passing through Dartford, Erith, Woolwich and ending in Greenwich, a total of 24 miles.

Bikeabout London Route map

You can join the ride at any point, and you can ride as far as you wish. Meeting points will be near rail stations, at the following locations:

  • 9.45am Baltic Wharf, Gravesend (24 miles to Greenwich)
  • 11am The Hufflers Arms, Hythe Rd, Dartford (16 miles to Greenwich)
  • 11.50am Riverside Gardens, Erith (10 miles to Greenwich)
  • 12.30pm Pond Wharf, Woolwich  (4 miles to Greenwich)
  • 1pm The Gypsy Moth, Greenwich!

See our website for more detailed information and maps of the locations.

The Gypsy Moth, GreenwichThe Gypsy Moth Pub

www.thegipsymothgreenwich.co.uk/

60 Greenwich Church Street, Greenwich, London, SE10 9BL.

Nearest Underground tube stations are: Cutty Sark or Greenwich. Nearest train station is: Maize Hill. If you are driving, there is an NCP carp park off Romney Road, A206, near the University.

To contact Liz and Chris about 11th or 19th February 2012, please email: hello@bikeabout.co.uk or call Liz on 07736 970101.

Join Bikeabout London and Bikeabout Ambleside.

Bring your friends and family!

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Why kids in SE Asia need your support

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Why we are supporting Child’s Dream…

We both care about children – Chris works with vulnerable young people and children in crisis, Liz volunteered for a charity called Home Start which supports families with children under 5.  So we are both passionate about supporting children and their families, to give them the confidence, knowledge and belief that they can improve their situation or make changes in their lives.

Sustainability

We both want to work with a charity whose projects are sustainable… ‘give a man a fish and he can feed his family for a day, teach a man to fish and he can feed his family for a lifetime’. Child’s Dream goes one step further than that and works with the communities to find out what they need…is fishing the best option? Do you even want to fish? The projects provide infrastructure, community development and resources, building both sustainable school structures and lasting relationships with the villagers. The communities are actively involved and ultimately have ownership of the projects, with a vested interest in their survival.

Risks to children in Southeast Asia

In the UK we are very aware of the suffering of children in Africa and it’s easy to forget that there are other children in the world who live in equal poverty. South East Asia is one of the poorest places for a child to grow up. The risks children face include child trafficking, being force into the sex industry, forced resettlement or displacement, as well as a lack of basic healthcare and clean water, often living in families surviving on just a few dollars a day.

Despite the vast array of 24hr news channels and newspapers online, there is very limited coverage or reportage about this region and the lives of the people who live here. No one hears much about the lives of children living in Thailand, Loas, Cambodia, Burma or Vietnam. No one tells their stories.

Globalisation – cheap goods and cheap labour

Here in the UK we enjoy buying cheap products from linen shirts to DVD players that cost just £30, we expect to eat a wide variety of food all year round from king prawns to mangos.  What we forget or don’t know is that many of the foods and products that we want, come from South East Asia and the people who grow, produce and manufacture these things for the west, live in poverty. There is a human cost, if not a retail cost!

Whilst globalisation has benefited some, it has also led to a change in the way of life for many. With increased urbanisation and industrial development, people are under pressure to go to the cities to earn more money, moving away from their families and working and living under harsh conditions. As few are very well educated, the only option open to them is factory work, manufacturing items or processing food mostly for export. Even the governments in this region focus on the development of natural resources for export, not on the development of communities.

Surely we can’t just keep taking? Surely it’s time to give something back?

Education and a future

Education is key to the children in this region. Whilst some may consider the idea of Europeans arriving in countries and prescribing education as the answer, as arrogant or may argue that it undermines their way of life – subsistence farming and agriculture – we don’t believe this to be true or fair. Their way of life has already been undermined and changed forever by the impact of globalisation and urbanisation, by our demand for cheap goods and cheap labour, and their governments’ policies on trade and export. If farming is no longer a long term option, then education will give children a chance to learn skills and equip them with knowledge to understand the world they are growing up in. Education gives people choices, the children may have little in terms money, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have aspirations to grow up and do something interesting with their lives, or at the very least earn enough money to be able to support their families.

Education and a school environment also provides stability, where perhaps there is little elsewhere in their lives. It gives children self-esteem and self-belief, empowering them to learn and grow with confidence. School isn’t just about learning, it is a place to find  out who you are and what you can do, you may be musical or artistic, or good at sport, good with other children; a place where people listen to you and share with you.  Why should we deny any child access to education, everyone deserves the choice and the chance to become who they really are.

Child’s Dream are giving children and their families that choice.

To make a donation please visit:  http://childsdream.org/donate/ and let us know too so we can add you to our grand total.  We really value your support, thanks!

Why we are supporting Child’s Dream…

We both care about children – Chris works with vulnerable young people and children in crisis, Liz volunteers for a charity called Home Start which supports families with children under 5. So we are both passionate about supporting children and their families, to give them the confidence, knowledge and belief that they can improve their situation or make changes in their lives.

Sustainability

We both want to work with a charity whose projects are sustainable… ‘give a man a fish and he can feed his family for a day, teach a man to fish and he can feed his family for a lifetime’. Child’s Dream goes one step further than that and works with the communities to find out what they need…is fishing the best option? Do you even want to fish? The projects provide infrastructure, community development and resources, building both sustainable school structures and lasting relationships with the villagers. The communities are actively involved and ultimately have ownership of the projects, with a vested interest in their survival.

Risks to children in Southeast Asia

In the UK we are very aware of the suffering of children in Africa and it’s easy to forget that there are other children in the world who live in equal poverty. South East Asia is one of the poorest places for a child to grow up. The risks children face include child trafficking, being force into the sex industry, forced resettlement or displacement, as well as a lack of basic healthcare and clean water, often living in families surviving on just a few dollars a day.

Despite the vast array of 24hr news channels and newspapers online, there is very limited coverage or reportage about this region and the lives of the people who live here. No one hears much about the lives of children living in Thailand, Loas, Cambodia, Burma or Vietnam. No one tells their stories.

Globalisation – cheap goods and cheap labour

Here in the UK we enjoy buying cheap products from linen shirts to DVD players that cost just £30, we expect to eat a wide variety of food all year round from king prawns to mangos.  What we forget or don’t know is that many of the foods and products that we want, come from South East Asia and the people who grow, produce and manufacture these things for the west, live in poverty. There is a human cost, if not a retail cost!

Whilst globalisation has benefited some, it has also led to a change in the way of life for many. With increased urbanisation and industrial development, people are under pressure to go to the cities to earn more money, moving away from their families and working and living under harsh conditions. As few are very well educated, the only option open to them is factory work, manufacturing items or processing food mostly for export. Even the governments in this region focus on the development of natural resources for export, not on the development of communities.

Surely we can’t just keep taking? Surely it’s time to give something back?

Education and a future

Education is key to the children in this region. Whilst some may consider the idea of Europeans arriving in countries and prescribing education as the answer, as arrogant or may argue that it undermines their way of life – subsistence farming and agriculture – we don’t believe this to be true or fair. Their way of life has already been undermined and changed forever by the impact of globalisation and urbanisation, by our demand for cheap goods and cheap labour, and their governments’ policies on trade and export. If farming is no longer a long term option, then education will give children a chance to learn skills and equip them with knowledge to understand the world they are growing up in. Education gives people choices, the children may have little in terms money, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have aspirations to grow up and do something interesting with their lives, or at the very least earn enough money to be able to support their families.

Education and a school environment also provides stability, where perhaps there is little elsewhere in their lives. It gives children self-esteem and self-belief, empowering them to learn and grow with confidence. School isn’t just about learning, it is a place to find  out who you are and what you can do, you may be musical or artistic, or good at sport, good with other children; a place where people listen to you and share with you.  Why should we deny any child access to education, everyone deserves the choice and the chance to become who they really are.

Child’s Dream are giving children and their families that choice.

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