Beer man’s Bush Babies to help children in Africa
- Credit: Archant
An innovative new soft toy hitting the market later this year is also set to make a difference to children in Africa.
Beer resident Andrew Coates has teamed up with Sue and Steve Scorer to send 60 of his Bush Babies to Tanzania to be given to underprivileged schoolchildren as rewards. Some of the youngsters have never seen a toy in their life.
Renowned artist Andrew has spent more than two decades bringing the Bush Babies to life. Based on the nocturnal animal seen in Africa, the toy can be manipulated to move its eyes and ears - a first for the soft toy industry. His product will be used by the Scorers to try to improve education in Tanzania.
The couple have lived and volunteered in the country for the last two years and have campaigned to stop teachers beating children - and instead reward them when they do well.
Sue and Steve will trial the initiative at the Joy School in Lindi, Tanzania, where they have helped to fund four children through education.
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Sue, 63, a retired music teacher, said: “We said to them [the school] we cannot help you if anyone beats the children.
“We have been trying to show them you can reward the children and we are working to train the teachers about how they can encourage the children without having to hit them.
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“It’s been very difficult, because when we say to them ‘beating is not good’ they say ‘this is our culture’.
“It’s very hard to make them realise that it’s wrong - a lot of them do not want to know.” The couple met Andrew through the Seaton Stitch and Sew shop, which makes clothes for the pair to take to Africa.
Andrew expressed his happiness to be involved in the project.
The New Road resident said: “It’s important that children who are more underprivileged have a chance of being educated. I love creating. I love inventing ideas. This has taken many years to fulfil.”
Andrew said he is now looking forward to returning to painting and showcasing his work at local galleries. He said the toys will be on sale from October.