Teacher Rachel ready for African adventure

editorial image

RACHEL Charlton is about to embark on the trip of a life time.

Tomorrow, January 21, she is flying out to Africa to teach in the rural village of Nongoma for two weeks.

Working as a volunteer, she will help educate the children and advise teachers on how to make the best of the resources they have available.

She said: “We can’t take things from home, but its about helping them make the most of what they have got.

“Using things like stones for maths lessons outside,” she said.

The 26-year-old from Moorgreen said her main aim was to make the kids feel worthy, and part of their community.

“They don’t enough self-worth and I want to make them feel important and a part of their community,” she said,

“I’ve planned out some of the things I’m going to do with them, like little drama activities and role plays, and I’m going to take over some of the work that my pupils have done to show them.”

Rachel will be teaching classes of 90, and says she is looking forward to putting pictures on the bare brick walls.

The Bestwood primary school teacher has wanted to teach in Africa for years, and said it was watching programmes like Children In Need that inspired her.

She finally decided to start putting plans in place last October, when she heard about the Shine Foundation.

“It was all really strange how it fell into place,” she said.

“I was really struggling to get hold of anyone at Shine, and my mum bumped into someone at church who knew all about them.

“It turned out there was a trip going out this month with members of Mansfield Baptist Church and Kirkby-in-Ashfield Community Church.”

Rachel, who has been a member of Newthorpe Methodist Church all her life, added her name to the list and had everything arranged just weeks later.

She said her nerves have calmed down now its nearing time to leave.

“Last week I was feeling petrified,” she added. “I suppose it’s being scared of the unknown. But now I’m nearly there I’m feeling really excited.

“I think it’s finally sunk in that I’m not going to fail and they will like what I do.”

By going on the trip Rachel is also helping the school where she works in Bestwood achieve its International School Award.

The ambitious teacher has got her pupils at St Margaret Clitherow to write letters to the children in Africa, who will then write back during their classes with her.

Rachel, who is also a member of the Kimberley drama group NOWMADS, had to raise £1,500 to fund the trip, and did so by selling cakes, organising a gig at the Foresters Arms pub, hosting a disco at her school and asking for donations from friends, family and fellow church members.

She has raised more than she needs, and plans to spend the excess on the children out in Africa.