News | Rhys Williams | Published: 10:30, Friday June 21st, 2019.
Teachers from the African nation of Lesotho have been welcomed by three Caerphilly County Borough primary schools.
The teachers visited Hendre Junior School and St James Primary School, both in Caerphilly, and Tyn-y-Wern school in Trethomas to take part in a week of activities.
The visitors, from Thabana Tso’oana Primary School in Lesotho’s capital city, Maseru, arrived in Wales on Saturday, June 1 and stayed until Saturday, June 8.
During their stay, they took part in school activities and visited Caerphilly Castle, the Principality Stadium and Barry Island among other places.
In February, teachers from Hendre Juniors, St James and Tyn-y-Wern spent a week at a school in Lesotho.
Teacher Setempee Phoka spent a week at Hendre Juniors and helped pupils build their own ‘keyhole garden’ during his stay.
Hendre Juniors deputy head teacher, Jane Baker, said: “It’s really lovely that we had everyone work together. We’re also extremely grateful to parents for helping us.
“The visitors took part in the school week and looked at different styles of teaching and how to support children with additional learning needs and promote good behaviour.
“On the Tuesday, the governors came in and take part in a whole school community project – everyone was working together which was special.
“On the Wednesday, the three schools met up to show our visitors Caerphilly Castle. They loved the castle – it’s very different to anything in Lesotho. They were very interested in our history too.”
Miss Baker added: “On Thursday, we held a special celebration assembly which parents and governors were invited to, and on the Friday, pupils and staff went to the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Carmarthenshire.”
Year Six pupils Rebecca Cotterill, Harrison Norris, Hywel Williams and Rhys Dagger, who are all part of the school’s eco-committee, represented their school at the visit to the National Botanic Garden.
They were joined by school children from across Wales at the event, which was organised by Dolen Cymru – the charity that helped set up the Lesotho link.
Harrison said: “We were really ambitious about the project and wanted to know about living in a country not as wealthy as ours.
“We want peace and fairness in the world so it’s nice for our visitors to come over to see us.”
The pupils took part in a number of fun activities during their trip to Carmarthenshire. Rebecca said: “There was a treasure hunt and it was very hard. We only managed to find one piece of treasure but we still enjoyed it.”
Miss Baker added: “We’re only able to access funding for this scheme every three years, but we will continue to maintain the link. Pupils will continue to have skype calls with children in Lesotho.
“Visits like this enhance children’s learning and understanding of how lucky we are. It’s also had a massive impact on parents, who have been very generous with their time and donations.
“Currently there are plants and flowers in our keyhole garden, but we want to use it to grow our own fruit and veg in the future.
“It’s been a massively successful week. We’ve had lovely messages from Setempee thanking us.
“We could not be prouder of the pupils. They’re such good ambassadors for our school.”