The war in Syria has captured the hearts of pupils at Barrow Hills School and galvanised the entire school community into action by lending its official support to the ‘Bags of Hope’ initiative, which was initially started by two Haslemere mothers and now has an operational team of twelve parents.
The School has collected over 200 rucksacks filled with essential items such as clothing, blankets, toiletries; books and toys for the babies and children arriving in Kos and other Greek islands. In addition to collecting the ‘Bags of Hope’, the children also raised money to help with transport costs.
The filled rucksacks were collected in the school’s chapel just before an assembly, during which Natasha Davies, one of the main organisers, talked to the whole school about the project. The rucksacks were then driven in the school mini bus to the designated collection point, where they will be sorted before onward transportation to a storage unit in Fernhurst which is being used free of charge. Ultimately the bags will be shipped in two 20-foot containers to Athens and onwards to the Greek Islands by the end of October.
The fundraising project was spearheaded by three pupils who first heard about the Bags of Hope campaign at Mass in their local parish. The girls approached their Headmaster Matthew Unsworth and suggested the school’s involvement. Mr Unsworth, impressed by the pupils’ compassion and clear commitment to make a difference, immediately sanctioned the idea, with staff keen to volunteer and help coordinate the school-wide response.
Commenting on the school’s efforts, Headmaster Matthew Unsworth says: “A key strand of the Barrow Hills ethos is to equip children with the ability to have empathy for others, to be kind and to do charitable works. I am immensely proud of the three pupils who inspired the school to play a small part in trying to help those who find themselves in such desperate circumstances. While our hearts go out to anyone involved in the refugee crisis, the pupils particularly wanted to help the women and young children/babies caught up in the conflict, who tend to be congregating in Kos and on other Greek islands. We would urge anyone else in the local community to lend their support this worthy cause.”