Thom bowls Rwanda girls over with donation of school shirts

November 02 2016

CHILDREN in Africa are benefiting from the change of uniform at Mangotsfield School.



CHILDREN in Africa are benefiting from the change of uniform at Mangotsfield School.

Out of date polo shirts and sweatshirts have been taken out to Rwanda by Thom Manning, from Downend, as part of his voluntary work with the charity Cricket Without Boundaries.

Parents and students donated clean, unwanted uniform and the school contributed obsolete items, meaning  Thom was able deliver more than 50 polo shirts and 100 sweatshirts to the Streets Ahead Children's Centre Association in Kayonza, Eastern Province. It looks after young girls rescued from life on the streets, many of whom are orphaned by or living with HIV/AIDS.

Thom, who works for the NHS and plays for Downend Cricket Club 4ths, is CWB’s “country manager’” for Rwanda, co-ordinating cricket development projects from the UK and leading volunteer projects from the UK once a year.

He explained how he found the centre during his recent visit.

“We didn’t plan to visit this particular shelter, but seriously heavy rainfall ended a morning session at the school next door early and we were invited inside to get out of the rain. 

“We had been carrying around the Mangotsfield donations for a week looking for the right place and as soon as we saw this shelter we knew we’d found the ideal place to leave the clothes. 

“We played indoor cricket with the girls, danced with them, sang with them and they sang and danced for us. It was a very emotional morning for the team, having earlier that morning rescued a puppy who had got himself trapped in a wire fence outside our hotel while his siblings looked on! There’s never a dull day on a CWB trip. 

“Planning and leading a two week project in Rwanda as a volunteer is a far cry from my day job with NHS South Gloucestershire CCG, and I have a very tolerant and understanding family who allow me to use up some of my annual leave to run around Sub-Saharan Africa extolling the virtues of using condoms at the top of my voice whilst playing cricket!”

Cricket Without Boundaries delivers sexual health education through cricket development to children in Rwanda, Cameroon, Uganda, Botswana and Kenya. 

To find out more, visit, email or ring Thom on 07758 153 863.