New school bus starts long journey to Botswana thanks to Cardiff business


A primary school in Botswana will receive a new school bus this week to save pupils walking miles to school in searing heat, thanks to Pentwyn business CD Gray & Associates.

Cardiff civil engineering consultants CD Gray is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and decided to raise £10,000 towards the cost of providing a new mini bus for Mabele Primary School in Botswana.

Glyn Coed Primary School has helped fundraising for the project and filled the bus with gifts for pupils before it starts its journey to Botswana this week.(pictures attached). The bus will travel by ship for 17 days from Sheerness to Walvis Bay on the Namibian coast and arrive with the school ready for the school run on 16 October. CD Gray staff have been raising money throughout their celebration year, most notably when several directors and staff crawled up the Tumble and Caerphilly mountain as part of the Cardiff Velothon in July.

Chris Gray, Managing Director CD Gray, visited the school in Mabele, Northern Botswana, last October and was moved by the sight of Primary School children having to walk 4 to 5 miles to and from school each day in temperatures of up to 42 degrees C in dangerous areas frequented by wild animals.

Chris Gray says; “The journey to and from school should be safe for every child so we thought we would do something practical for Mabele school to mark our company’s 25th birthday. Working with local Glyn Coed Primary we have purchased the bus and filled it with gifts for the school including tennis balls, footballs, school equipment etc and also fans to make the temperatures in the classrooms more tolerable.”

Head Teacher of Mabele Primary School, Mr Oteng Makole says: “Our school has approx. 175 pupils from a very wide catchment area. The walk to school for many is through the Chobe National Park Corridor which is heavily infested by wild animals including elephants and wild cats. We have already had one student attacked by an elephant since the old bus broke down so this new bus is a wonderful gift from Wales that will help keep our children safe.”

The project is linked with GlynCoed Primary School in Pentwyn adjacent to CD Gray’s offices. The children are writing letters to Mabele Primary pupils and helping with gifts as part of a scheme to link with other schools worldwide and raise their awareness of the differences between their own school environment and that in Africa.