PENARTH residents have donated over 100,000 pieces of Lego to schools in Lesotho.
The Penarth Lego Project was launched by the Penarth and District Lesotho Trust (PADLT) in February 2015, and has reached its target.
The Lego is being transported by sea to Durban, South Africa, and will then be taken to the tiny landlocked country.
Project coordinator Jeremy Dix and his wife Rosemary will follow the delivery out to Lesotho and oversee its distribution to a number of schools and local organisations in April and May.
The main beneficiary will be TY Junior Academy (TYJA), a primary boarding school in the town of Teyateyaneng. The school has had links with PADLT for over a decade.
Mr Dix said, “All Lego and Duplo that we have collected will find its way to Lesotho and will bring countless pleasure to thousands of children and be a valuable classroom resource to help teachers deliver the National Curriculum.”
Mr and Mrs Dix will spend some time in South Africa at an organisation that trains people in the use of Lego as an educational resource. The hands-on experience of using Lego is increasingly seen as a valuable tool for engaging children in their education.
In February the Rev Canon Peter Cox, of Penarth’s All Saints Church, went out to the country along with his son. They spent five days there, helping to make arrangements for the arrival of the Lego and strengthening ties with the TYJA.
“It was easy to get the Lego together in terms of the collection, but it’s been very hard to arrange transport,” said Mr Cox.
PADLT was founded in 2005, after Mr Dix met Godfrey Kakande, a Ugandan national who had started the academy to provide housing and education for orphans in Lesotho.
Tragically, Mr Kakande died in a road accident last year, but the new leadership of TYJA is keen to continue its partnership with Penarth, where the charity has raised around £10,000 annually for the past five years.
Much of the investment goes into funding building projects.
Lesley Cox, Chair of PADLT, has been out to the country and to the school many times.
“The project mainly centres on the school – it’s an independent school set up to meet the needs of orphans living on the street, to house and educate them,” said Mrs Cox.
“We don’t pay the ongoing costs, but are involved in setting up and building capital projects.
“Two years ago, we helped them to build a library. It’s used not only by the children in that school, but is a widely used community resource. We provided the books as well.”
The organisation also sends children from Penarth’s Stanwell School out to Lesotho once every two years, where they visit the academy.
The charity intends to continue its work, supporting education in Lesotho and fostering cultural understanding.