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Multi-academy trust pledges support for Project Mala

A York-based charity which enables children in a rural part of India to access a quality education in well-equipped schools, is to benefit from ongoing support from one of the city’s biggest multi-academy trusts.

Ebor Academy Trust, itself based in York, has named Project Mala as their Trust charity, as their work resonates with one of the Trust’s beliefs that every child should have the opportunity to make great progress, regardless of social circumstance.

Founded in 1989, Project Mala is a non-profit charity working to abolish child labour in the carpet weaving belt of India. It seeks out working children in the remote villages of Uttar Pradesh and gives them quality education up to secondary level and access to healthcare facilities.

Over the last few months, each school within Ebor Academy Trust, which operates schools across York and across North and East Yorkshire, has held events to raise funds for Project Mala, including non-uniform days, discos, cake sales and other imaginative activities. Ebor academy pupils have also learned about the charity, the children it is helping and what the proceeds of fund-raising would be used for.

Collectively the Trust has raised almost £1500 so far for Project Mala and fund-raising efforts will continue throughout the year.

The community at Sproatley Endowed CE Academy in the East Riding were the Trust’s biggest fundraiser. Headteacher, Mrs Paula Townsend, said “For Sproatley Academy’s Project Mala fundraising, we held a non-uniform day on which the children paid a donation to come to school in their own clothes and we started the day with a whole school assembly focusing on Project Mala. We held a dance-a-thon in which children gathered sponsors to dance non-stop for any time from 10 minutes to a whole hour. We also ran a Penny Wars competition in which each class competed to fill a jar with as many coppers as possible.

“The children were really interested in Project Mala and the children it supports, so they were super-keen to get involved in all of these events. As a school we managed to raise an amazing £671! We are hugely proud of this achievement, especially being such a small school! We like to think of ourselves as a small school with a big heart.”

Robin Garland MBE, Chairman of Project Mala’s Trust Board said “We are extremely grateful to everyone in Ebor Academy Trust for embracing Project Mala as their Trust charity. I would like to say a huge thank you to the children within all the Ebor schools for all their fundraising efforts so far. The money raised will go a long way to help more children have access to a good education and a happier childhood.

“Currently Project Mala has nearly 1,500 children in its schools – five pre-schools, six primary, three middle, three secondary and one intermediate boarding college. With Ebor’s help and that of our other supporters, we can continue to work towards eradicating the use of child labour on the carpet weaving looms and enable working children to regain their lost childhood.”

A member of staff within each Ebor school has now been designated as Global Education Lead. This group of staff will work together to develop Ebor’s global curriculum which will incorporate continuing work and fund-raising for Project Mala.

Ebor Academy Trust comprises 15 schools, including Robert Wilkinson, Haxby Road and Park Grove in York. The two schools at Hob Moor and Lakeside are expected to join shortly. Ebor also runs schools in Selby, the Yorkshire Coast and in the East Riding and the Humber.

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