Education news

Pupils join together for cross-community trek

The Housing Executive's Liam Gunn and Lorraine Walsh with pupils at the Trek initiative event. Picture by Declan Roughan

A bright future lies ahead for hundreds of schoolchildren in who completed a special trek to promote inclusivity and diversity.

The Trek (Truth, Respect, Empathy and Kindness) initiative, supported by the Housing Executive, has seen two weeks of activity to help create a shared future in 21 schools from all sectors in north Belfast.

Boys Model School hosted the final event for pupils from primary and post primary, integrated, maintained and controlled schools, special education and Irish-medium schools, all of whom took part in the special `trek'.

The ramble was the culmination of a fortnight of events across each of the schools, aimed at celebrating cultural diversity and raising awareness on key issues of respect and diversity among the schoolchildren.

The Trek initiative kicked off last month with special breakfasts in each of the 21 participating schools and a range of events were held afterwards, including community coffee mornings, fancy dress days, sessions for parents on celebrating difference and mini-treks.

Each participant in the walk was given a commemorative t-shirt and wristband to mark the occasion.

At the conclusion of the trek, a host of multi-cultural activities were offered, including Chinese and Bollywood dancing, Indian and Japanese art, African drumming, cultural activities from the Pakistani, Caribbean and Romanian communities and Irish music.

Belfast Boys' Model School principal Alan Logan said it was a great pleasure and privilege to welcome so many children from many different schools.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to bring together young people of all ages and backgrounds to take part in exciting activities which will help to bring about a better understanding and acceptance of each other," Mr Logan said.

"The experience will undoubtedly challenge the misunderstanding and indeed mistrust of different cultures which is so often evident in our society. I'm sure this will be a very memorable and enjoyable day."

Malachy McKinney, North Belfast Area Manager for the Housing Executive, said: "We cannot underestimate the importance of grassroots, good relations activities like Trek and The Housing Executive is very proud to have supported such a positive development.

"North Belfast is an area of great potential and given how positively the young people involved engaged with the programme, it's clear a bright future lies ahead."

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