Itala School Project SI Bangor
This project was introduced to Soroptimists in the Region by the Bangor Club in 2006. It began following a visit to Zambia by a group of pupils from Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen in Caernarfon in 2001. Whilst there the pupils helped at a community school – a dilapidated, rented building, without furniture or equipment, with pupils being taught by unpaid male teachers. The pupils and their teachers helped to build a block of three classrooms, made with mud bricks and a thatched roof on some land donated by a local Chief.
After returning home the teachers wanted to continue to support the school and they began fundraising and seeking sponsors. A new brick building was eventually built in 2005 and by 2009 a second building was nearing completion.
In 2006 the Bangor Soroptimists became involved and started fundraising for text books and they then sponsored the two year training of a female teacher. Soroptimists and Rotarians in Bangor have continued to support the Itala School and the charity, Itala Foundation, has now been set up with its own website.
Today over 1300 pupils regularly attend the school, where they are taught by 7 male and 3 female teachers. They are achieving good examination results and also enjoy sporting activities. A spin off from this project has been that adults, denied an education in their youth, now attend evening classes at the school and classes have also been set up to teach vocational skills. This has enabled them to become literate and some women now hope to set up their own business and to train others.
A member of SI Bangor, Sian Kent, has visited the school and is a trustee of the Itala Foundation.