St. Patrick's English School has been collaborating with Haurralde Fundazioa since 2011.
Haurralde Fundazioa shares its expertise by raising awareness and providing volunteers for several charity events organised by the school.
We encourage our pupils to participate in fund-raising projects for the Haurralde Foundation's projects in Mozambique. Our particular goal is to improve the children's quality of life through sport. For the last few years, the school has been organising a hugely popular charity raffle at the annual St. Patrick’s festival (held on the Sunday closest to March 17th). All the prizes for the event are donated by our suppliers.
Volunteers from the Haurralde Foundation take part in the event and also run a face-painting workshop whose proceeds also go to the charity. In the days leading up to the event, the pupils learn what life is like for children in Matsatse (Mozambique), what they need and how we can help. All the proceeds go to the Children’s Centre in Matsatse (Mozambique), allowing us to satisfy our objectives. Over the last few years, we have sent parcels of mosquito nets, trainers, T-shirts and footballs to the centre, and the donations have been used to repair floors and facades, and build a basketball court.
Our small contribution helps to raise awareness among our pupils, encourages a sense of solidarity and helps other less fortunate children.
We contacted the Red Cross in September 2013 because we saw our help was needed in our own community. Sara Ibarbia, welcomed us into the Red Cross and introduced us to the "Not now + not ever" project which fights against poverty and social exclusion around us.
Since then, we have been organizing fund-raising events several times a year in the school.
In late December, pupils from Year 2 of Compulsory Education organise a "Christmas Cookie Sale", where home-made cookies are sold in the school at lunch break and the proceeds go to the Red Cross. Another similar cookie sale is held before the Easter holidays.
In March, the pupils from Year 3 of Primary Education visit the Red Cross headquarters in San Sebastian, and see, first hand, the work of the organization in the city.
In June, Proyecto RSC, the school's community outreach programme, and Agenda 21 organize a sale of second-hand school uniforms and books at the school, raising funds and recycling unwanted property at the same time.
At the end of the school year, we receive a visit from the Red Cross volunteers who present the "Not now + not ever" project and explain how the funds are distributed. There is a symbolic ceremony in which the school presents the Red Cross with the annual collection and receive acknowledgement for their help and cooperation.
During the Christmas holidays, the Gipuzkoa Red Cross organises a New Year's Party for the disabled, the elderly and people living on their own. We encourage our pupils to attend the event, which is held in San Sebastian's Costa Vasca Hotel, and entertain the audience by giving a short performance.
Cáritas member Jon Odriozola comes to the school to share the organisation´s different projects. The pupils involved in the school's Proyecto RSC outreach programme are taken to see different Caritas projects: Laguntza Etxea (a centre for immigrants), Hotzaldi (a night shelter), Lamorus (an occupational workshop), Zurekin Bat (a recreation centre), Fair Trade and International Cooperation, and Gypsy Support Centre, etc.
Cáritas aims to treat all people with respect and promote a more just society. In Gipuzkoa, the organization's work focuses mostly on people at risk of social exclusion, immigrants, the unemployed, the homeless, HIV sufferers, etc. However, it is a flexible organization that adapts well to individual needs and circumstances.
A talk on social exclusion is held in December for pupils from year 1 and 2 of the Baccalaureate cycle. The aim of the talk is to raise the pupils' awareness of the challenges people face around us and the importance of volunteer work.
Afterwards, we explain what is needed in the centres, particularly in cold weather, and invite the pupilsto donate food and other products. The products are collected at the school and delivered to the different hostels around our city.
"The Markel txoko"
María, one of our teachers, told us about 13-year-old Markel López, a young boy from Urretxu who had been struggling all his life because of a rare skin disease, known as "Butterfly Skin”.
The disease, whose medical name is epidermolysis bullosa, belongs to group of genetically transmitted skin disorders featuring blisters, ulcers and skin wounds particularly in mucosal areas, which are caused by the slightest touch or bump. Markel’s skin is extremely delicate, with the skin tending to peel off with the slightest touch, causing injuries and blisters. Markel's hands and arms have to be kept bandaged most of the time, and he has undergone countless operations to maintain the mobility of his fingers. He is in constant pain.
Since 2013, the RSC and Agenda 21 projects have been working on a collaborative project to improve the quality of Markel's day-to-day life. The pupils created "El Txoko de Markel", a space for collecting plastic bottle caps.
All the staff members, families and pupils collect as many bottle tops as they can and the school has them delivered to Markel’s family on a regular basis. The caps raise much-needed funds for the family. We continue to help them any way we can.
Find out more about Markel in this video.
Thanks to Mikel, another staff member, we heard about June and her family. In 2014, the school's Community Outreach Project Commitment to Society, became involved with the Renteria-based association, Juneren Hegoak.
The aim of the association is to create a support network for families in Gipuzkoa to help them deal cope with a child's illness, or with bereavement and grieving.
We donated three of the school's iMac computers, now used by children who visit the Rentería centre. We continue to help them whenever we can.
The Food Bank
The Food Bank of Gipuzkoa is a voluntary organization. All the volunteers work as a team getting food boxes ready for collection by designated charities.
Many people in the city have been affected by the financial crisis, which is why the work of the Food Bank is more necessary now than ever.
The association organizes a large-scale food collection in December all over Spain. During the campaign, pupils from Year 4 of Secondary Education and Year 1 of the Baccalaureate work as volunteers in supermarkets around the city.
It is hard work but very worthwhile, both in terms of the amount of food collected and the kindness of the people.
It is a very positive and rewarding experience for the pupils involved. It gives them an introduction to what volunteering is all about.