Natalie carries on her sister’s work

Natalie at Hidden Treasure Primary School in Uganda. INLM4311-301con
Natalie at Hidden Treasure Primary School in Uganda. INLM4311-301con
Share this article

DOLLINGSTOWN girl Natalie Barr has been awarded a bursary that will take her to Uganda to carry on her late sister’s great work.

Her sister Charlene died last October having put all her efforts into raising enough money to build a primary school in Uganda.

18-year-old Natalie, who is training to be a teacher at Stranmillis College, has been awarded a HSBC Bursary of £15,000 that will see her travel to Hidden Treasure PS every summer to help with teaching there.

Her sister Charlene had been awaiting a double lung transplant when she passed away this time last year. She left her legacy in the form of Hidden Treasure PS which is now up and running.

Former Lurgan College pupil Natalie visited the school when it opened and it inspired her to put forward her proposal to HSBC that she would do her teacher training in Uganda.

Natalie got 1,894 votes for her video and finished top on the leader board.

She gave thanks to all the hard work of everyone who voted and encouraged friends to vote.

Natalie was one of eight people to be awarded bursaries. The money will see the 18-year-old, who has captained Ulster and Ireland at hockey, travel to Hidden Treasures for the next two summers then do her final year placement at the school. As well as teaching the children there Natalie will be using her hockey knowledge to train and get young people involved in sport.

Natalie said: “I’m hoping to go out in June to do a bit of teaching and some hockey coaching. Hopefully I’ll do every summer and then in my final year do my placement there.”

She has been to Uganda three times and was there when Charlene first got the inspiration to make a difference in Uganda.

Natalie said: “I’ve been there three times. The first time was with my family. It was after this visit that Charlene came up with the idea for Hidden Treasure Primary School.

“The second visit was with a bigger group to choose the site for the school. The third time was in August when the school was opened.”

Natalie added: “Charlene was always really optimistic and dreamed big. I’m very proud to be going to teach in the school that she helped build.

“Charlene would love the fact we were bringing hockey to Uganda. Although she never played hockey she loved it.”