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Ballinamere and Durrow students use their schoolbags to help kids in Malawi

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Ballinamere and Durrow students use their schoolbags to help kids in Malawi thumbnail

The last days of school before the summer holidays witnessed students from both Ballinamere and Durrow National school's join forces with their local GAA club, Ballinamere Durrow GAA club, as part of a charity initiative called the "Backpack challenge ". The Charity involved is called Marys Meals . The challenge involved students aged from 5 to 12 from both schools teaming up with members from Ballinamere Durrow GAA club and donating their second hand schoolbags and kitbags at a drop off in Ballinamere Community Hall on the last day of school . The bags are filled with old school books , pencils, pens, rubbers , rulers pencil cases ,uniforms ,shorts, jerseys and small balls for use by school kids in Malawi , Africa . The kids estimate that the final bag count will come to several hundred bags from both schools and the club .
The school children started off by asking for help from their teachers who assisted them without hesitation , showed videos in class on African life and allowed them to put up posters in the school . The students organised T Shirts , posters and videos from the Charity themselves . The students also reached out for help from Carina Carroll of Ballinamere Durrow Gaa , retired local business man Paul Galvin , Father Rory OBrien and GAA All Star Michael Duignan . All individuals rowed in enthusiastically behind them without hesitation at extremely short notice when they heard what was going on .
It wasn't long afterwards when word of the unusual charity challenge reached RTE and saw Mr Ciaran Mullooley arrive at the "Bag Drop " at Ballinamere Community Hall with a film crew . RTE filmed the Bag drop off . He interviewed the children along with Paul Galvin ,Michael Duignan and Father Rory Obrien . RTE will show the footage and interviews in the coming weeks .
Paul Galvin told the tribune " All these schoolkids, teachers , parents and GAA club members really deserve credit for what they have achieved in such a short time . Don't forget that you are taking about kids aged from 5 to 12 years of age getting organised to help others less fortunate . They have helped a other kids and a great charity in a very real and meaningful way . Kids in Africa will be delighted with what they are getting from Ballinamere Durrow solely thanks to them . The charity feeds 1.25 million children each day by providing them with one bowl of porridge each day if they attend school at a cost of €15 per child per year .The way that the children reached out for help from their local GAA and the way that the GAA rolled in behind them really shows how important the GAA is now and will continue to be for young people in all parts of their lives . The manner in which Ballinamere Durrow club helped them in their endeavours shows the importance of the GAA locally and demonstrates that the GAA nationally is about many things , including helping local kids in all sorts of ways in their development and learning . Im sure that It will pay them dividends in trumps over the decades to come
The Ballinamere Durrow gang have really put it up to other school kids around the County now . They truly are all Ireland Champions with what they have done . I encourage all teachers , students and GAA members to get involved and organise a collection next end of year . Can you imagine what these Kids could achieve if they were adults ! "
The children point out that the charity involved is " MARYS MEALS "and encourage readers to search on youtube for " marys meals backpack project". Anyone who still wants to donate a bag can contact the charity directly . The kids expressed thanks to their teachers , club and all involved for all their help .
The children are hoping that schools and their local GAA Clubs all over Offaly and beyond will team up and start up the " Backpack challenge " at the end of the school year next year . Anyone interested should contact Marys Meals 01 8535163, https://www.facebook.com/marysmeals EMAIL ireland@marysmeals.org to get a Back Pack Challenge Pack .

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