Norwich club comes to aid of African nursery school struck by Cyclone Idai
A nursery school set up by a former Norwich High School pupil has been left reeling after it felt the force of a cyclone which caused devastation across parts of Africa.
St Anthony's Nursery School, in the village of Chilumpha in Malawi, was founded in 2001 by Gina Rose Saunders, originally from Tasburgh.
She had been in Malawi teaching through the youth development scheme Asia & Africa Venture when she decided she wanted to build a nursery school for 80 pupils.
With the help of a number of Norwich Rotary Clubs and other organisations the school was built and equipped - but Cyclone Idai has caused a major setback for the educational project.
The cyclone recently ravaged parts of Malawi and Zimbabwe, while an estimated 1.8m people were affected by Idai as it hit Mozambique.
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The exceptional winds and flooding destroyed homes of some of the staff, although the school building itself escaped relatively unscathed.
Mrs Saunders said: 'Luckily everyone is safe and okay, but they fear the floods returning and clearly conditions are really bad, particularly for those whose homes have been destroyed. I hope the worst is over.'
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However, members of Norwich Marchesi Rotary Club, which has supported the school for years, has stepped in to help after hearing news of the damage.
At their meeting on Monday, the club agreed to send a donation for repairs to Malawi straight away, via bank transfer.
Tony Bushell, club secretary, said: 'We have supported Gina and watched the school as it has grown and expanded.
'We were pleased to assist in the current crisis and we are sure people in Norwich who have followed the success of Gina's venture will be relieved to hear the school has survived the terrible conditions Mozambique and Malawi have suffered.'
People who want to donate to the nursery can do so via www.thenurserymalawi.co.uk/DonateUp to 20 tonnes of UK aid is being delivered to help those caught up in the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai.
The UK's total support for the survivors of Cyclone Idai now stands at more than £22m, including £4m of aid-match money for the Disaster Emergency Committee's appeal.