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Brisley pupils raise aid for Africa

PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 March 2010 | UPDATED: 15:46 07 July 2010

Brisley Primary School pupils have raised money to help West African farmers and met the Melissa Trust's founder at a special assembly to hand over their donation for irrigation projects in Burkina Faso.

Brisley Primary School pupils have raised money to help West African farmers and met the Melissa Trust's founder at a special assembly to hand over their donation for irrigation projects in Burkina Faso.

Melissa Ilboudo, from Burkina Faso, is studying International Development at the University of East Anglia but wanted to help her home country.

So she teamed up with Christian Aid to launch a fund, the Melissa Trust, to raise money for irrigation projects. With Christian Aid's help Melissa approached the European Union for an additional grant and the EU agreed to quadruple any money raised by the Melissa Trust.

Pupils at Brisley decided to donate all the money raised from their eco-friendly Christmas tree at the Fakenham Christmas Tree Festival to the Melissa Trust and the £104 raised in donations will be increased to £416 by the EU grant funding.

Melissa was joined at the assembly by the head of Christian Aid in East Anglia, Eldred Willey and his wife Kathi who helped the children to create a model of a settlement in a desert. They showed the children how farmers would use rocks to try to trap water and use trees to stop soil from washing away. The children also watched a short film about life in Burkina Faso.

Melissa, who would like to work at the policy level of international development when she finishes her studies, said: “It was lovely to come to Brisley School and meet the children who had been so generous to donate their Christmas Tree money to help the people of my country. Water is so precious to farmers in Burkina Faso and the children were very interested to see how the money they've given will be used to help them dig wells and water their land to grow vegetables and mangos.”

Melissa's appeal has been supported by Norwich churches and the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James. Having originally set out to raise £20,000 in two-and-a-half years, generous East Anglians have helped Melissa to raise more than £23,000 in just 12 months.

Anyone wishing to support Melissa's appeal should send cheques payable to Christian Aid c/o Eldred Willey, at Christian Aid, the Kings Centre, King Street, Norwich NR1 1PH so it can be allocated to win the EU funding.


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