National award nomination for founder of GSAL’s Malawi Project

Monday 4 November 2013

WEB Barry Brindley from Inspire 2012

A retired teacher who has dedicated a quarter of a century to creating a sustainable future for some of Africa’s poorest people has been nominated for a prestigious lifetime achievement award.

On joining Leeds Girls’ High School (LGHS) as an economics teacher in 1988, Barry Brindley encouraged his form to become pen pals with pupils at his previous school, the Kamuzu Academy in Malawi. 25 years later, this simple act of friendship has grown into a project that has raised almost £300,000 for schools and community organisations in the country.

In recognition of the Malawi Project, which Barry has developed alongside his busy teaching career, he has been shortlisted in the lifetime achievement category at the Independent School Awards 2013. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 14 November.

Barry’s love for Africa began when as an undergraduate he spent a year at the University of Ghana and met his wife. They returned as newlyweds for Barry’s first teaching post in Zambia, later moving to Malawi. He said: “Africa gave me the greatest gifts I could ask for – my wife and four children, many friends and 14 years of wonderful memories. The Malawi Project is our way of saying thank you.”

As well as fundraising, the project has shipped over 200 tonnes of donated goods to Malawi, and Barry has organised twelve tours for students, held biennially. To date 348 pupils and 53 staff members have visited to see for themselves how their efforts have supported communities in a country where 60% of people live below the poverty line.

Barry continued this life-changing work even after taking on a school leadership role as deputy head at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL), as LGHS and Leeds Grammar School became known after merger in 2008. He has also authored 15 academic texts and remains as GSAL’s Malawi coordinator since retiring in 2011, when he formalised the project by setting up his charity, the Zikomo Trust.

The entire school is involved in fundraising for the Malawi Project, from the nursery children at Rose Court through to the sixth form.

Barry is pictured loading a container with donated goods to be shipped to Malawi.

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