Dada Masilo

Education for the Children Are Hosting a Twelve Hour Ping-Pong-A-Thon to Raise Funds for Kids in Guatemala

25 February 19 interview: Patrick McMahon

Education for the Children (EFTC) is an international NGO with a local base here in West Bridgford. The foundation run the School of Hope, a primary and secondary school in Guatemala which provides education for 462 impoverished children and supports another 215 young adults in further education.

On Thursday 7 March, EFTC is hosting a twelve-hour Ping-Pong-A-Thon at Das Kino to raise money for the School of Hope. We spoke with EFTC’s fundraising officer Billie Turner about the charity’s work…

Tell us about Education for the Children…
Education for the Children was established in 2003 to help a primary school on the brink of collapse in Jocotenango, Guatemala. The NGO has grown steadily over the years, from helping a handful of children to educating 677 children and young adults, and empowering the local community. The school provides students with healthcare, psychological support, social services and careers guidance to ensure that they have the best chance in life. 

Guatemala is not a country we often hear about in the UK. Why has your charity chosen to work there?
Guatemala is often overlooked by the media and by overseas aid and support programmes.  However, statistics reveal that Guatemala has one of the highest inequality rates in Latin America, with some of the worst poverty, literacy, malnutrition and maternal-child mortality rates in the region, especially in rural and indigenous areas. Almost 60% of the population live in extreme poverty, with many families living on less than £1 a day. Guatemala also has the lowest literacy rate in Latin America with over 25% of Guatemalans over the age of 15 unable to read or write. Education for the Children works hard to ensure that our students are not part of these statistics. 

And… why Nottingham?
EFTC was founded by Nottingham-born Sophie McKee and her father David following Sophie's visit to Guatemala in 2003, where she volunteered at a school on the brink of collapse. Sophie saw first-hand the impact access to education could have on changing individual lives and empowering local communities. Education for the Children was formed with the aim to break the cycle of poverty through education. In 2005 they opened the doors to the new School of Hope in Jocotenango. 

Can you explain what’s happening at your fundraiser?
On Thursday 7th March we are hosting a charity Ping-Pong-A-Thon at Das Kino from midday to midnight. We will be keeping the ball in the air all night long with the help of our supporters. That’s right, twelve hours of continuous ping pong! 

So the event is open to ping-pong players of any standard, from amateurs to Forrest Gump?
Yes, anyone is welcome! There will be two-for-one pizza deals and plenty of refreshments available at the bar. If you are based locally, why not pop in on your lunch break or swing by after work and pick up a bat. 

Have you personally have visited the school that EFTC operates in Guatemala? Can you tell us what it’s like?
It’s a really positive learning environment. All of the staff at the school are dedicated to the students. They do everything possible to make sure that the students and their families are happy, well looked after and supported right through to further education, or until they secure meaningful employment. ​For me personally, it has been amazing to see the same students that were in my class in 2013 now all grown up and graduating from secondary school as confident young adults. It makes you realise the impact access to a quality education can have, which is something that we often take for granted in the UK. 

What are the future aims for the charity?
Education for the Children hopes to support as many of our students as possible on to higher education and to future employment. It hopes to close the substantial wealth-based educational gap in Guatemala, which is the country with the largest income inequality in Central America. 

How can people support the charity and donate towards it?
Come along to our Ping-Pong-A-Thon! If you can't make the event but are impressed by our ping-pong prowess you can sponsor us ​here. If you can't make this one, there will be other exciting fundraising events taking place throughout the year, so you can follow our website or social media pages to keep up to date with EFTC. You can also choose to sponsor a child at the School of Hope, or make a one off donation to a class for school materials. If you want any more information, you can get it touch with our team at [email protected] 

Ping-Pong-A-Thon Facebook event

Education for the Children website

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