Senior Headmaster's Blog: Making a difference around the world

Two events this week have made a particular impact on me. On Thursday 12 February, Joe Andrews (Maths teacher) and his wife Verity spoke about their incredible journey for Magic Bus, when they cycled to Mumbai, and then beyond, ending up in New Zealand. This epic adventure was so compelling to hear about, with their challenges balanced by the kindness that they found wherever they went, and the positive attitudes among people who had so little, but wanted to share what they had with them.

Joe and Verity made the challenge of cycling over 9,000 miles sound as though they had just popped out to the local shop, and their humility was utterly inspiring. Joe told the school all about his adventure in a recent chapel service, and it is not surprising that so many of the students ended up talking about this when they arrived at their first lesson that morning.  

Magic Bus is a remarkable charity that is making a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in India, and to hear Joe and Verity tell us about how it inspired them during their adventure was to recognise why purpose in life is so important.  I am so proud of them for what they have done, and so pleased that, as a school, we are able to support this charity.

On Wednesday 12 February, all of our Lower 6th IB students presented, in teams, on their ideas to make Safi Coffee a success at Felsted. Safi Coffee is produced in Uganda, and sold at outlets in the UK, with the profits being used to pay for Ugandan children to attend school.  It was back in 2015 when Safi Coffee was born, during a school trip to Uganda. Pupils from Hull Collegiate School volunteered in the South West Region of the country at Great Lakes High School and Kirima Parents Primary School. Children and parents there truly value education as an opportunity to escape the cycle of poverty. Sadly many youngsters never get the chance. They are trapped on the family land by poverty. The pupils witnessed preschool children working barefoot on farmland, using machetes, a sight which inspired them to make a difference.

Safi Coffee raises vital funds to educate children in Uganda and change their lives completely. It costs just £180 to fund a child to attend school for a full year. This includes accommodation, food, uniform and healthcare. This is funded by selling the coffee grown around the school sites.  

Felsted is now planning to become a partner in this project, with this summer's trip to Uganda meeting some of the key people, and seeing the production taking place. We are looking to convert our coffee shop to a 'Safi coffee' shop, so that, when we relax and enjoy a drink, we can support education in a part of the world that will benefit from that.  Just as Joe and Verity were inspirational in talking about Magic Bus, the Lower 6th students showed remarkable maturity and global concern (not to mention business and marketing acumen!) in their presentations, and the next few years are going to see this project develop further, as we support Teach Uganda.

For anyone who is interested, there will be a tasting session in the Lord Riche Hall on Saturday 29 February, as part of our normal match teas.  Please do come along.

Another event worthy of mention was the extraordinary Concert of Contemporary Music. From the playing of chairs to cellos; and feedback to flutes, this was one of the most remarkable musical evenings. Thank you to all who took part in, and all who supported this event.

Have a very restful half term, 

Chris Townsend

PS If you have been inspired by Joe and Verity's bike ride, why not sign up for the Essex Velo on 20 September (click here to register).  It would be great to put together a Felsted team for this event, which will go through the village of Felsted, and past the school! Pre-registration needs to be done by 26 February.