Charity plays an increasing role in school life at MCS. Each year, the school votes to select a local charity to support alongside our partnership school in Uganda, and every year group is involved in fundraising.
The school’s charity committee organises regular events to raise money and to boost engagement across the school. Numerous staff and students take the initiative to do their own fundraising: from sponsored marathons, macarenas, and unicycle rides, to staff concerts, pupil-led talent shows, and House quizzes. Charity at MCS is varied and exciting.
Over the year, we welcome representatives from our charities to speak in Chapel, which helps to promote the charities’ vital work. In addition to the money donated for the school’s charities, each Christmas every Houseroom collects a box of the items urgently needed by Homeless Oxfordshire over the winter months – a much-needed reminder for us all of the basic items that so many people go without.
Through sustained support for our elected charities and the promotion of voluntary work, we hope to instill in our pupils an awareness of the importance of supporting the wider community and to develop in them a desire to be involved in socially conscious action, both in life at school and in their lives beyond.
Magdalen College School has a long history of supporting the work of charities close to its heart, and is delighted to have launched a partnership with Mustardseed Junior School in Sentema, Uganda.
Read about how the first MCS Founders’ Day raised £26,600 towards Mustardseed with the 1480 Challenge.
Last year, we raised:
Mustardseed Junior School was conceived by two friends: Kenneth Buwule, a Ugandan school teacher, book editor and postgraduate scholar of peace and conflict resolution, and John Caird, a British writer and theatre director (and MCS alumnus) whose work has been performed all around the world. Kenneth and John share a deep sense of care for the health of the world in ecological and educational terms.
The name of the school is taken from the parable of the Mustardseed. If you plant even the smallest of seeds in fertile ground, it can grow into a mighty tree that will provide a home for the birds of the air to make their nests and raise their young. Mustardseed’s mission is to provide an inspirational and practical education for young children, encouraging them to flourish and prosper in Uganda and the wider world.
Fostering a creative relationship between one of the oldest schools in England and one of the newest in Uganda will offer both student communities wonderful opportunities to learn about each other’s cultures.
Mustardseed will be designed, built and maintained as an eco-sustainable school in a richly bio-diverse environment. Phase one of the building process includes kindergarten and primary classrooms, an administration building with library, IT facilities and sickbay, a playground, a football pitch, an outdoor amphitheatre and a school farm. The architect is Felix Holland of StudioFH in Kampala, whose innovative, ecological and economical designs have helped transform communities all round East Africa.
Update on the Mustardseed Project
Despite the considerable and unforeseen challenges that 2020 has brought, extraordinary progress has been made at the Mustardseed School site in Sentema. Supply chains have been creatively managed by the Localworks construction team to accommodate COVID-19 related logistics and safety measures, and the local labourers have spared no effort. The primary block is now over 90% complete, the administration block is almost 80% complete, and all three sanitation blocks are over 90% complete. The Waynflete playing field has been seeded, stone is being laid to create walkways and paths, and many beautiful trees have been planted. These successes are in large part thanks to the wonderful generosity of your contributions. Thank you!
Progress continues with the kindergarten block and teachers’ accommodation, as the Ugandan Board start to further plans for the school’s opening in the Spring of next year. We are nearly there, but we still need your help as we finish construction, employ staff, equip teaching facilities and set up a bursary scheme for the neediest children in the surrounding area. It costs £365 a year to educate a child at Mustardseed School, so just £1 a day can transform a young life for a whole year.
Your donations last year made a massive difference in Sentema, and Mustardseed School is enormously grateful to have such a supportive partnership with MCS in the years to come.
We are delighted to be supporting Helen & Douglas House this year. Based in East Oxford, Helen & Douglas House started life in November 1982, when Helen House and the children’s hospice movement was founded by Sister Frances Dominica. As the world’s first children’s hospice, Helen House has gone on to inspire 49 others across the UK and around the world. They provide hospice care for babies and children in Oxfordshire and surrounding counties, helping terminally ill patients live life to the full, even when that life is short.
The MCS community are raising funds to support this via the 2020 Challenge, fun activities and events trying to redefine and reclaim 2020 for good. From 20.2km runs, cycles, and walks, to 20 press-ups on 20 tors on Dartmoor, or 2020 sit-ups, the school’s efforts have meant that we have managed to raise over £2020! It is a beautiful coincidence at present, and the challenge continues until the end of November.