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posted 22 January 2016





Many children in Africa take a leap of faith every day of their lives because life is extremely tough – some are orphans and homeless, and others don’t have enough to eat and drink, so often get sick because of poor nutrition, unsafe drinking water and disease. Most do no go to school because they are either too weak to concentrate or are just too busy trying to survive. But now you can make a difference. 


You’re invited to take part in a #Leap4Africa Day on February 29th. Whether you’re seven or 70, use your extra day in 2016 to make a difference. Organised by Cookham’s Social Action Committee, in association with Holy Trinity and Cookham Rise Primary Schools, all the schoolchildren will be involved in a sponsored star-jump, and for those a little older, you can join in by jumping, playing hopscotch or leapfrog, or by doing the thrilling Leap of Faith at Longridge, all to raise money to make a difference to children’s lives in Africa.


The Longridge Leap of Faith is for adults or anyone over the age of eight, and starts with a climb to a platform at the top of a 13-metre pole. Next, you have to leap to the trapeze as your peers all watch from the ground below. It costs £15 and all participants will receive a certificate to remind them of their Leap of Faith.


All proceeds from any sponsored jump will be donated to New Brainstorm School in Uganda and PFC Ethiopia, whose project is Gende Tesfa School. These African charities are the two that Cookham’s Social Action Committee has decided to support for the next two years, as they were brought to the group’s attention by the primary schools.


Through the inspiration of one of their parents, Sarah Parfitt, who ran the marathon for Gende Tesfa School last April, Holy Trinity School has been fundraising for PFC Ethiopia. Together they have raised more than £5,000 so far, and funded a new sports ground, which is currently being built, and the Breakfast Club. In Gende Tesfa, which is located in Dire Dawa in Eastern Ethiopia, one or more family members have been affected by leprosy and it also a very poor community. The money from the #Leap4Africa Day will be donated to school facilities like the Breakfast Club and better sanitation that benefits the school and the whole Gende Tesfa community. 


Journalist and PFC Ethiopia Ambassador Sarah Parfitt says: “I am so excited about our #Leap4Africa Day – we hope that people will really embrace the idea and change children’s lives in Ethiopia and Uganda this Leap Year. Please get involved wherever you live, and post your photos and videos on

Facebook and Twitter.”


Cookham Rise Primary School has formed a partnership with the New Brainstorm School in Kampala Uganda. This is a school with little support and resources to educate children who would otherwise have little access to any education and is only kept afloat by the work of its dedicated staff. Cookham Rise School has already raised money just to keep Brainstorm open, but now they want to fund more permanent facilities. Deputy Head of Cookham Rise Primary School Mr Rhodes says: “The Saving New Brainstorm School initiative not only gives much-needed help to an underprivileged community in Kampala, the work to support them helps build even greater community links in Cookham. Knowing that our fund-raising efforts would start in earnest in 2016, a Leap Year, it occurredto me that that jumping into action represented a great starting point. A little brainstorming with my colleagues in the Social Action Committee gave rise to Cookham Leaping for Africa with the hope that everyone in the area will find a way of leaping to the aid of the unfortunate in Africa.”


Teacher Mrs Peters of Cookham Rise Primary School says: “All the children at Cookham Rise are hugely excited about the Leap of Faith initiative as it will help their friends in Kampala to keep their school and the education they love. In some cases, school is the only family they have. Having raised enough money to help New Brainstorm to buy land for a new site, we hope that this Leap Year will see enough funds raised to start building safe classrooms and sanitation for all the children.

Thank you to everyone who gets involved, it really does make a difference.”


Over the next two years, the Cookham Social Action Committee want to help support these causes through various fund-raising events and individual donations (see below for more details). Yet as Mrs Peters said, this initiative is not just about fundraising; the children at the local schools are in contact with their fellow pupils in Africa – they have exchanged letters, videos, photos – it is as much about children from both schools learning about each others’ cultures.


Sarah Parfitt adds: “Imagine your children not eating each day, having to share a school uniform and dreaming of having a toy. This is the norm for too many children in Gende Tesfa and in other parts of Ethiopia. We can sit back and feel guilty or we can be catalysts for change. Please jump, leap, play

hopscotch and have fun with us on February 29th!”.


February 29th. Leap4Africa Day. To take part in the Longridge Leap of Faith, it is £15 – with Longridge receiving £5, Gende Tesfa School £5 and the New Brainstorm School £5. You need to register online at:  

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