Littlehampton students set to battle gypsy discrimination

A group shot of some of the team who are set to tackle the latest trip to help gypsy children
A group shot of some of the team who are set to tackle the latest trip to help gypsy children

STUDENTS from across Littlehampton are readying themselves for a fundraising adventure to help brighten the lives of persecuted gypsy children in Romania.

The Littlehampton Academy has announced that a team of 29 youngsters from the school, in Fitzalan Road, will be tackling the humanitarian effort.

They will be travelling into the heart of Romania, next July, and will be running an activity week in two gypsy communities for five days, catering for up to 100 children and young people.

Their trip follows in the footsteps of a similar visit by the academy last year.

Paul Sanderson, academy chaplain, is leading the expedition and said: “The impact on the students we take as well as the students we serve is life-changing.

“The UK-based students take on the role of fundraiser, teacher and at times councillor as they teach and share from their own skill base to the keen-to-learn children of the Roma gypsy community.”

The team will need to raise about £700 each to join the adventure, with the cash helping to pay for travel and food costs.

One of those joining this year’s squad of students is year-13 Sabrina Chapman.

Speaking to the Gazette, Sabrina, 18, of Wick, said she was excited to be doing something to help others who were less fortunate than herself.

“Just seeing the sort of poverty and life that these people have is something totally different,” she said. “We are very lucky that we don’t have that sort of poverty in England and the poverty that we do have is nowhere near as serious.

“But in Romania there is a lot of discrimination towards gypsies. I don’t think it’s right. I see them as people and as human beings.”

Sabrina said she was touched by a video made by the academy’s last team to visit the country, which revealed the conditions the gypsy communities were forced to live in.

Paul said the academy took a lot of pride in organising humanitarian trips. “International trips to serve others has been at the heart of TLA since 2007. As global citizens, it’s our role to understand the world and the challenges many people face, day in day out,” he said. “Littlehampton students return keener to learn and take less for granted. We are changing the world one story at a time.”