Bedales Swaziland Project

To date Bedales has raised over £60,000 for the Mbalenhle Primary School in Swaziland. Every year our students and staff have worked with the Headteacher and local community to use these funds to repaint classrooms, build three new classrooms, build a sanitation block, install running water and electricity, build a perimeter fence and build a hostel for orphans.

During February half-term 12 6th formers helped the ongoing building works for Mbalenhle Primary School in Swaziland.  Working hard from morning to night in 30 degrees heat, the students, along with teachers Lindsey Barnes and Alex McNaughton, laid water pipes to staff accommodation and painted the new library.  Our students also taught, much to the delight of Mbalenhle teachers.  In pairs, the students were given 10 minutes to talk about English politics, history, geography, culture and nature.  They even made English maps.  

Bedales visit to Swaziland was captured by Swazi TV during a special launch ceremony for the latest building projects, which was attended by Swazi’s Minister of Education.  The students particularly enjoyed playing with the children after work and school had finished and felt they really got to know them well. Staff and students also donated technology and books to equip the library. 

Commenting on the trip Bedales Teacher, Lindsey Barnes, said: "This was my second trip to the Swaziland school project and one thing that I was very pleased to observe was the improvement in the orphans since last year. They looked healthy and well-fed and it was lovely that some of the children who I had seen last year were no longer suffering from skin conditions and were clearly benefiting from receiving the care, nourishment and education that they deserve. This is thanks to the construction of an orphanage next to the Mbalenhle School so that they can be better cared for."  

The Swazi Observer 22 February 2010

In May 2011 Bedales teacher Ransi Jayatissa returned to Swaziland to oversee the ongoing development work. While he was there he helped finalise the completion of several projects:

• Put up a dining hall for the students to have their lunch. 
• A poultry farm to accommodate 400 birds (100 broilers and 300) layers and a store room for agriculture equipment. 100 layers will be arriving within another week. They are matured birds which will lay eggs in two weeks after arrival. We have already paid £1700.00 to buy these birds.
• Managed to put up a cattle shed which will accommodate four milking cows. We have sufficient funds to buy the cows in reserves.
• The container of 4000 books, two pianos, 20 bicycles and 14 desk top computers and two laptops and other goods have arrived safely to Mbalenhle School last week. The container was filled by donations from Bedales parents, students and staff and it is great to see the pupils benefiting from all the equipment that was shipped from Bedales to Swaziland
• Managed to buy 24 lockers for the hostel students and a stov  for the hostel kitchen.
• 30 chairs for the TV room and six tables for the hostel dining hall were also bought.
• Bought a lawn mover to cut grass around the school.
• Total money spent was nearly £26,000.00 in last few months.

Ransi would like to thank all those who contributed, donated and helped this project to date.

Quotes from Grade 7 pupils at Mbalenhle

“I would like to thank for the computers and the library that you have given to us and I know that we will learn more about the computers and books. I know that our English will be improved soon and we will do our best in English.”
Bhekinkhosi Matsebula

 “Thank you very much for the computer. It helps me to know how to use it. I will choose it even in form one. I will also thank you for the library because it helps me to know how to speak English and write the correct English. Now our English is fine. We are starting our final examination and we would try our level best. Thank you. God bless you.” 

“I say thank you for your computer, it is helpful in our school. We also thank you about the books you have give us. It give us more power to speak in English. We promise you that we would take care of these things. Thank you very much.”
Nombuso Sukati


2015 photo album and film
2014 photo album

Before the dining hall was erected

The new dining hall

Equipment offloaded from the Bedales container  

The container arriving

The library with books dontaed by Bedales

Bedales in Swaziland 2011

Watch Bedales students and staff taking part in the traditional Bedales handshaking ceremony at the end of their 2011 visit.

Plans for 2011 and beyond

  • To build and equip a junior school library
  • Install water to the staff quarters
  • Build a dining hall for the school
  • Increase the capacity of the hostel for orphans from 20 to 48 children.

How you can help

If you would like to make a donation to the Bedales Swaziland project, we have arranged a quick, secure and tax-efficient way to do this online via the Charity Choice website. This is a free service for charities; all funds go directly to the charity and Gift Aid is automatically collected. Please follow the link to make a donation. The total amount of your gift will be directed to the Swaziland project via Bedales Schools. 


In 2007, Bedales adopted a dilapidated co-educational school in Swaziland with 350 students. The school had insufficient classrooms, no water, no electricity, a lack of school furniture and no toilets; many children did not have any shoes and 18 pupils were orphans.

What we achieved in 2008

  • Three extra classrooms
  • 100 desks and chairs
  • Installed electricity
  • A sanitation block with eight flushable toilets and four shower units
  • Donated sports equipment and six used laptops
  • Painted the school

What we achieved in 2009

  • Raised £11,000
  • Installed an electric water pump so the school has running water
  • Built a 1km perimeter fence
  • Donated eight used laptops
  • Donated a television, video, and various sports equipment

What we achieved in 2010

  • Built a 24-bed hostel for orphans on the school premises, with staff quarters.
  • Employed a cook to ensure the children are fed regularly.
  • Assisted the school in starting a free range poultry, cattle and vegetable farm so they will be self-sufficient at the end of the five-year project.

We are delighted to report that the Greendale Foundation has recognised the importance of our work in Swaziland and made a donation of £12,000 to the Bedales Swaziland Project, for which we are extremely grateful.