From 9-13th July, Jai Hayden, aged 11, will be cycling from home in Charmouth, to school in Lyme Regis and back, every day, to raise funds and awareness for our charity, The Word Forest Organisation.
We’re coming towards the end of Jai’s physical challenge and are proud to report that he hasn’t let the steep hills of Lyme or Charmouth beat him – his determination has been solid and despite the hot weather we’ve had over the past week, he has pushed through splendidly every day.
Jai has been accompanied by his incredibly supportive mum, Jo, who has cycled with him and frequently broadcasted a Facebook Live stream during the ride too: you can have a look at his progress here.
This fundraising challenge is one element of an inspirational new school initiative set up by Mr Rich of St Michael’s Primary School in Lyme Regis, to run an award scheme for children and it has the backing of the legendary explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
The scheme will challenge children to complete a series of activities including an expedition, a charity event for a charity of their choice, a week of sport, an eco-activity to help the local community and they will also need to present a talk to their fellow classmates.
Jai has chosen to cycle to school to support us and is excited by the fact that he’ll help us to plant trees, build a classroom and facilitate education in one of our impoverished communities in Kenya.
During a recent meeting with our CEO, Tracey West, Jai was shocked to see the photos and videos from our recent monitoring and evaluation trip to visit our projects. He discovered some of the youngsters in our communities walk 5 miles or more to simply get to school. They’ll frequently walk similar distances in temperatures nearing 30 degrees, to source water in containers that they carry home on their heads; the lives of young Kenyan children, are incredibly challenging.
A good example lies in Kundeni Primary School, which has an enrolment of 610 students. It was the first school where we constructed solid stone classrooms, replacing unsafe mud huts. Up to 100 students sleep on the earth under the stars on the school compound, because it’s simply too far to walk home and they also stand a better chance of getting a meal in their day too; a recent donor kindly gifted us with 13 mattresses, which sleep 2 children on each, but they need an additional 37 to give them all at least a modest level of comfort.
Tracey comments: “The Trustees and I were blown away by Jai’s desire to make a positive difference to the lives of children his age in Kenya. This is a big physical challenge and his commitment to raising money and awareness, will undoubtedly win him the award and it’ll leave a positive legacy in Africa too.”
The money Jai raises will contribute to many of our projects; planting trees that help humans, wildlife, biodiversity and the wider world by mitigating the effects of climate change, buying a few building materials for the next classroom we build, probably at neighbouring Kadunguni Primary School – pictured here – and buy a few vital school supplies, as typically, the children we work with don’t get exercise books to write in until they reach year 6, aged 10/11 years old.
Jai is using a fantastic new fundraising platform called Wonderful which ensures that 100% of all money donated reaches our charity!
On the last day of Jai’s challenge, there will be a celebration in Charmouth with fundraising items available to buy from us and a cake and homemade lemonade sale that he hopes will raise a few extra pounds.
All donations will be gratefully welcomed.
Please click here to support Jai’s challenge and if you’d really like to help, please share it on your social media – let’s help Jai, fly!
The (very grateful) Team