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Emma Birks from Leek has completed a charity fund-raising trip to Morocco

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: July 27, 2014

  • Katie Daniels and Emma Birks, left to right, with some of the children in Morocco.

  • Emma Birks before she left for Morocco.

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A teenager from the Staffordshire Moorlands has returned from a charity fund-raising journey.

Nineteen-year-old Emma Birks, from Leek, landed home safely last week after spending two weeks in Morocco helping to build an education centre for children.

Emma decided to take part in the 'Big Build' project after seeing it advertised at Derby University, where she is studying for a degree in Sport and Exercise Science and has just finished her second year.

The Big Build is a project funded by Childreach International and each applicant has to raise more than £1,750 each before they can travel over to Morocco and help build the school.

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Emma, alongside university housemate Katie Daniels, raised this money by organising a pub quiz, a cake sale, a non-school uniform day at Leek High, a concert, a 24-hour walk by Andy McKay, and many nights going from pub to pub with collection buckets.

They flew off to Marigha Village, which is situated in the Atlas Mountains to help complete the school build on June 26, and returned on July 8.

Emma said: "It was difficult to communicate with both the children and the builders as they spoke very little English, but we managed to teach them basics to make it easier to complete the tasks we were given."

Sharron Ollier, Emma's mum, said: "Well done Emma, you have done amazingly and I am very proud of you."

There is still one more group to fly over and complete the build in September, but both Emma and Katie have said they would like to return over next year and see how the school turned out.

Emma said: "It's just a different world out there. Without this building the children would have no secondary school to attend as the nearest one is far out of town, and most parents would not be able to afford to get their child to and from school."

For anyone who would like to donate to Childreach you can donate online at www.childreach.org.uk/donate.

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