GDST alumna Mrs Ann Cotton, OBE, visits Portsmouth High School
Portsmouth High School girls were delighted to welcome Mrs Ann Cotton, a former GDST alumna and founder of the charity Camfed. Camfed invests in girls in the poorest rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa where they face acute disadvantage and where their empowerment is now transforming communities.
The Sixth Form and Head Girl team are supporting Camfed this year as their chosen charity.
Mrs Cotton, a former pupil of GDST school, Howells, in Cardiff, founded the charity over 20 years ago when she visited Zimbabwe. She noticed an imbalance of the enrolment of boys and girls attending schools.
‘The Tonga people had been resettled to a very poor district called Chikumba and there I met families who, despite what every report had said, did really want to educate their daughters but didn’t have the means to do so. I was welcomed and warmly treated by all the families and returned home determined to shift the balance for these families.’
Two years later, in 1993, Ann formally launched Camfed, the Campaign for Female Education. The girls supported by Camfed stayed in school and did well,
demonstrating that girls’ education was valued by families when costs were met. The successful model has now been replicated in more than 5,270 partner school communities in Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
‘As a team, we were inspired by Ann’s story,’ said Head Girl Anna Mackay, 17. ‘We decided to support Camfed and our main week of activities starts next week with a staff bake off and talent show and culminating in a two night Fashion Show next Thursday and Friday evenings.’
Charity week at Portsmouth High School has been running for over 25 years and is always organised entirely by the Sixth Form. The week includes talent shows, live music events and an annual netball match versus boys from Portsmouth Grammar School. It culminates in a two night Fashion Show where the Sixth Form use business acumen and entrepreneurial skills to negotiate with local shops and liaise with local businesses to put on the show.
‘Camfed reflects back to the girls a sense of value that they have a right to be in school,’ said Mrs Cotton. ‘I thank all of you at Portsmouth High School for taking this on as your charity. You will transform the future of girls in Africa, their families and their future children.’