Students and staff of The Halifax Academy have paid tribute to former pupil Ali Raja, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 17, by raising over £21,000 for charity.
The money raised has enabled them to support a number of good causes, including hospital units in Halifax and Leeds, orphanages in Pakistan and water well construction in the Philippines.
The fundraising began in 2014, when academy staff, students and their families donated over £2500 to the Teenage Cancer Trust, following the care and support that Ali received at the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at Leeds General Infirmary. The students’ continued fundraising efforts enabled them to present a selection of gifts, including iPads, DVDS, book and games, to the Children’s Ward at Calderdale Royal Hospital. They also funded the construction of a water well in a village in the South Philippines, having researched levels of poverty around the world.
The money has been raised through various activities, including car washing, tea parties, selling wristbands and mountain climbing. Last year over 100 staff and students, the youngest being 11 years old, climbed Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, to raise money for orphans and street children in Pakistan. Three members of staff, Yasar Mohammed, Tasin Bukhtawar and Nawaz Hussain, have recently returned from a trip to Nowshera, Pakistan, where they carried out aid work and made donations on behalf of The Halifax Academy.
During their trip, the three visited a number of organisations around the region, including Alubadia Orphanage Education Centre, St Joseph’s Hospice, Raazi Hospital and a SOS centre for street children where they donated food, sports equipment and gifts for the children. They also bought paint, carpet and other materials which they used to transform the most run down orphanage.
As well as decorating and renovating, Yasar, Tasin and Nawaz organised football and basketball games and gave English lessons to some of the younger children. They also set up the sponsorship of two children and the construction of two water pumps in remote villages.
Yasar said: “I am very proud of our students, who have been so motivated and dedicated to their fundraising and to making a difference to as many lives as they can. For me, being able to see their fruits of their labour and the effect on the lives of those children that they have worked so hard to support has been a truly inspiring and humbling experience.
“The people that we spent time with were so happy and so thankful for the efforts of our students and for the kindness of everyone who gave their time and money to the project. The difference that we have made has inspired us to continue with our fundraising and try to reach as many disadvantaged and deserving groups of people as we can. Our students are full of creative fundraising ideas and we look forward to seeing what they have planned next!”