Pupils at the Leys High School, Redditch, Worcestershire faced some tearful prospects in the autumn of 1995. Some of the students had taken part in an onion growing competition called ‘Greenfingers’, to find out who could grow the largest and heaviest onions in their gardens. The project was initiated during a visit of Mr Mustapha Ulaya from Saba Saba Day Secondary School in Mtwara. He was one of four teachers who visited Redditch in April-May under a twinning link between the two schools.

The Greenfingers project was initiated, not only as a means of encouraging gardening skills, but also to identify in a practical way with pupils in the partner school in Tanzania. For some pupils, the reality of a dry summer and hosepipe ban resulted in a negligible crop but also a clearer understanding of the problems of drought in Africa. A year 11 pupil, Ian Jeanes, won the competition with his three largest onions. All the harvesters were awarded some chocolate ‘onions’ by courtesy of a local factory and a certificate signed by Patrons, Nick Houghton, Manager, ‘Where Next Nurseries’ and ‘fellow gardener’ Sir Cliff Richard.

David R Morgan, community Tutor, Leys High School.

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