Students at Cromwell Community College have transformed pillow cases into bespoke dresses to donate to children at schools in Zambia.

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The dresses have been made as part of a task to learn sewing skills, learn the power of recycling whilst also helping others less fortunate than themselves.

The Year 9 students were introduced to the idea of pillow case dresses by a parent as a good idea for a one-off lesson and now it is the yearly scheme of work.

The school sends up to 200 dresses every year.

“We feel every girl deserves to have a dress made especially for them. Next year we hope to extend the project by adding boy’s shorts to the gifts we can donate,” said textiles teacher Stephanie Fraser.

“We recognise that, compared to many others in this country and abroad, we are extremely lucky. We aim to raise money to ensure that others can have an improved quality of life.

“We also recognise that we can have a good deal of fun doing it,” she said.

The college has close links with Chisokone and Riverview schools in Zambia.

Their involvement in Africa began with the help of a Cambridge-based charity called CAMFED.

A partnership was established with Chisokone Basic School in Samfya, northern Zambia, close to Lake Benguela.

The school has 600 pupils of all abilities from seven to seventeen years old.

Partnership work has involved letter exchanges, photograph exchanges and an evening of African music, dance and drama called Africa Spectacular.

In addition Year 7 spent a day working on a project about clean water and its importance for Chisokone.

Cromwell’s governors, staff, parents, pupils and Chatteris residents have helped Chisokone to buy books, text-books, stationery and sports equipment and a

total of £3000 has been raised.

The success of this partnership with Chisokone meant that Cromwell followed the advice of the British Council to link with another school in Zambia.

This is a fledgling link but contact has been made with Riverview Basic School which is near Victoria Falls.

Riverview has just built its first ever staff room and a donation from Cromwell ensured that they have new coffee cups and tea cups.

Both schools will be sent pillowcase dresses thanks to the nimble fingers of the college’s pupils.

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