A Borders teenager is being backed by some of the world’s biggest football clubs as he looks reach his goal of helping African communities.
Galashiels Academy fifth-year pupil Alistair Robinson has been given a signed shirt by Barcelona Football Club worn by star striker Lionel Messi, one of the scorers in the Spanish team’s 6-1 Champions League defeat of Paris Saint Germain last week, to raffle off to help pay for a trip to Tanzania.
The 16-year-old has also been given a signed Rangers club photograph, a stadium tour of Glasgow’s Celtic Park and a donation from English champions Leicester City.
He will join 20 other pupils at the academy jetting off to the Tanzanian city of Moshi in June 2018 for two weeks to help communities there by building two homes from scratch and visiting orphanages.
The group, comprising fourth and fifth-year pupils, plus four teachers, will also go on a two-day safari.
They each need to raise £2,500 to cover the cost of flights, accommodation and building materials.
The expedition is being organised by the Edinburgh-based Vine Trust.
Academy geography teacher Michael Gruba said: “It’s going a be a very worthwhile trip, but by no means will it be a holiday.
“The pupils will be grafting from 9am until 5pm as the aim of this trip is to give the pupils life experience.”
The pupils started fundraising weeks ago and have held a games night and bake sales so far.
Alistair said: “I contacted a few football clubs, starting with Barcelona to see if they could help at all.
“I was really surprised when I got a reply from them not long after asking for further details. A couple of weeks later, the first package came through the door.
“The trip looks like it is going to be such a great experience. I have never done anything like this before, and I am definitely looking forward to carrying out the building work.
“The safari will be brilliant as well, and it will be my 18th birthday when we are on it, so I couldn’t ask for a better present really.”
Michelle Livingstone, expedition and education co-ordinator at the Vine Trust, said: “The pupils are going to experience a different culture so they will experience the different food and the different ways of life. The weather is much hotter and the pupils will be working throughout the full days.”
“These trips allow the young people to really give something back and to make a difference.
“It allows them to be the change they want to see in the world, and the trip will be a lasting memory for them.”
To keep up to date with fundraising events, visit the school’s Facebook page.