VIDEO: Killeeshil PhD student on solar mission to Africa

A fund-raising charity started by a Killeeshil student has raised £10,000 to bring solar power to a deprived school in Tanzania.

Clare Scullion, who is studying a PhD in Physics at Queens University Belfast, has just returned from her mission to install the solar panels, as well as promote and teach science, and bring scientific apparatus for the pupils.

Clare Scullion with fellow student Brendan installing solar panels

Clare Scullion with fellow student Brendan installing solar panels

With the help of her fellow students, Clare embarked on a hectic fundraising schedule which included a cake sale, a musical extravaganza, a murder mystery evening , a table quiz, the winning of a £1000 Higginson Leadership Award through Queen’s University, as well as church collections, ticket sales from door to door, busking, and an online donations campaign.

Clare said she and her friends were ‘over the moon’ to raise £10,438.

“The solar panels will not only provide the students with reliable lighting in their learning environment but also the potential to save money on purchasing electricity, a benefit that can be extended to other areas in the school as time goes on”, she said.

“We would like to sincerely thank all those who supported us and our fundraising efforts, those who donated money, and those who donated their time, resources, skills and expertise.

“We couldn’t have made this project a reality if it weren’t for the generosity of our families, friends, colleagues and communities.

“We would also like to thank all the people we met in Tanzania for their kindness and hospitality. Many people went out of their way to make us feel very welcome and we got a wonderful insight into their way of living.

“In the three weeks we spent in Tanzania, we didn’t pay for a single meal or for any accommodation: the hospitality of the people is astounding. They share what they have, no matter how little. We firmly believe that this project will make a difference to hundreds of people.”

Clare praised the Tanzanian community for their belief in education and their spirit of self-reliance.

“The school is almost self-sufficient; they have a mill for grinding maize to flour to make Ugali, their staple food. They have cows,pigs, goats, hens and turkeys. They have banana trees and fruit and vegetable plots and the school purchases other food from the local community.

“The students help to maintain and care for the animals and crops and are also responsible for their own washing. The parents appreciate the importance of students learning so many useful life-skills alongside their education.

“When we spent time with the students and teachers at the school we got a great sense of community and togetherness.

We were thanked hundreds of times for our support to the school. When it was time to leave, we both agreed that this was a worthwhile project of a great benefit to all the pupils and would really make a noticeable difference to their study and to their lives.”