Pupils in traditional wear at St Mary The Virgin Church in Wales Primary School. Photo credits: SMTV Cardiff Twitter

Butetown primary school pupils raise money for victims of the Turkey-Syria earthquake

Children at the multicultural school wore traditional clothing and bought 20p books for the Disaster Emergency Appeal  

A MULTIFAITH primary school in Butetown raised money for the Turkey-Syria Earthquake… and had an impressive £50 in the pot in less than two hours.

St Mary The Virgin Church in Wales Primary School headteacher Mrs Nicki Prichard, 55, decided to run the fundraiser after being inspired by other schools in the South Wales area.

Participation was optional and all proceeds went directly to the DEC (Disaster Emergency Appeal.)

Pupils wore traditional clothes reflecting their heritage and donated as much as they could during the cost-of-living crisis.

While the school is Anglican, it takes in pupils of all faiths. Many staff are Muslim.

“We’re only 6% Christian, 7% Hindu and 85% Muslim. 93% of our pupils are ethnic minorities. We have lots of Somali and Yemeni pupils, and Syrian refugees,” said the headteacher, who is Cornwall native.

Headteacher Nicki Prichard, 55, in a dress made in Cornwall.

Traditional clothes worn included Arabic and Indian dress.

Individual donations have ranged from 10p to £50 and come from pupils’ families, staff and anyone else linked to the community.

A book sale also took place during lessons and after school. Each book was sold for 20p. The books being sold were leftover books that the school no longer needed.

Fundraising started at 8.15am at the breakfast club and by 10am the school had already raised £50.

“I think the reason there’s so much generosity here, in one of the most deprived areas in Cardiff is because charity is one of the five pillars of Islam,” said Mrs Prichard.

The school has previously raised funds for victims of the war in Ukraine, but the Turkey-Syria appeal is particularly important to St Mary, where outreach work is a big part of life.

“Fundraising is our Christian, moral duty. It’s important we stand together in support of Turkey and Syria,” Mrs Prichard explained.

She explained St Mary is even a lot of Muslim parents’ first choice of primary school in Butetown.

Muslim pupils embrace the Welsh dancing lessons with open arms but also dress in traditional clothing on Eid day.

St Mary also celebrated the Platinum Jubilee and is due to have a coronation lunch for King Charles.

Their assemblies start with a welcome in 27 languages, including Mrs Prichard’s own Cornish. But the school is hoping to increase the number of Welsh speakers.

“Often, the Somali and Arabic kids pick up Welsh quicker than white Welsh people because their neuropathways are well-developed from knowing two or three languages already,” she said.

Fundraising efforts have earned them the City of Sanctuary award.

She added: “Yes, we’re money poor in Butetown but we’re not culture poor. It’s a tight-knit community that gets a lot of bad press. I feel perfectly safe walking down Loudoun Square.”