Ukraine aid group's school visit

By Barrie Hudson - 2 March 2023

  • Head teacher Zoe Garbutt, back row left, with Mike, Liana and pupils

    Head teacher Zoe Garbutt, back row left, with Mike, Liana and pupils

A Swindon aid organisation gave primary school pupils an insight into the resilience of people in Ukraine.

Mike and Liana
It coincided with Ukrainians marking a year since the invasion by Russia.
Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership chair Mike Bowden visited Burbage Primary School near Marlborough, accompanied by a Ukrainian visitor and supporter of the partnership, Liana.
The two gave an age-appropriate presentation about the invasion and ongoing conflict, and demonstrated how a tin can, recycled candle wax and an improvised wick can be used to make a trench candle to provide heat and light for several hours.
Mike and Liana were invited by head teacher Zoe Garbutt, whose husband, Andrew, is a friend of Mike's, and pupils were asked to bring in donations of tins, candle wax and other useful items.
The school roll currently includes a pupil from Ukraine.
Mike said: "Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership was looking for an event to mark the anniversary, something that tried hard to be as positive as possible in the awful circumstances a year into the invasion.
"The thought that we had was to find something suitable to do with the children, because they have such innocence."
Mike and Liana gave their presentation and candle-making demonstration - using a safe non-flammable wax substitute created by Mike - during morning assembly.
Mike was helped by young volunteers from the audience, and there were also quiz questions. One of them involved pieces of heavy duty yellow cloth with red stripes, made in Stroud, which were handed out and the children asked to guess its use.
One correctly answered that it was the covering for tennis balls. Mike explained that the red stripes had been added to prototypes to see whether the balls would be made more visible during play. He added that Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership had been given many yards of the material, which could be used for anything from lining tents to making ponchos.
Headteacher Zoe Garbutt said the visit coincided with an ongoing study theme centred around innovation, and also tied in with the school's ethos of thinking about and helping others.

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