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A charity whose former worker was murdered in SA returns to renovate schools

Niall Mellon and 305 Mellon Educate volunteers from Ireland and the UK travelled to Cape Town.

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Mellon Educate volunteers at work (Rogan Ward/PA)

Mellon Educate volunteers at work (Rogan Ward/PA)

Mellon Educate volunteers at work (Rogan Ward/PA)

A charity whose former director of education was murdered in South Africa has returned to the country to renovate schools.

Niall Mellon and 305 Mellon Educate volunteers from Ireland and the UK travelled to Cape Town to carry out extensions on premises in Wallacedene Township.

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A volunteer at work (Rogan Ward/PA)

A volunteer at work (Rogan Ward/PA)

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A volunteer at work (Rogan Ward/PA)

John Curran, 60, from Dublin, was found at his apartment in Cape Town earlier this month. It is understood he was stabbed.

Mr Curran had moved to South Africa several years ago.

He had recently retired as a director of education at Mellon Educate.

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A Mellon Educate volunteer dances with some local children (Rogan Ward/PA)

A Mellon Educate volunteer dances with some local children (Rogan Ward/PA)

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A Mellon Educate volunteer dances with some local children (Rogan Ward/PA)

The Mellon volunteers have spent this week helping to improve educational facilities at the Enkululekweni Primary School and Hector Peterson High School.

Ken Kingston, country director of Mellon Educate South Africa, said: “It’s an ambitious task to build school facilities and classrooms for 600 children in one week but our volunteers are making every effort to achieve our mission.

“We are very proud of all our volunteers who are travelling to help some of the most impoverished children on our planet.

“Their muscles are truly sore after a week of hard labour, but the pride they take home will never leave them.

“Every volunteer returns home with an enormous sense of achievement.”

Each year, Mellon Educate volunteers raise funds to partake in the charity’s annual Building Blitz, the majority of which goes towards building materials for the schools as well as towards the charity’s teachers mentoring programme, which commences in each school for up to five years, once the physical work is completed.

The volunteers are all ages and from all backgrounds.

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Volunteers work on the roof of a building (Rogan Ward/PA)

Volunteers work on the roof of a building (Rogan Ward/PA)

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Volunteers work on the roof of a building (Rogan Ward/PA)

While approximately a quarter are skilled in a building trade, the majority are not.

The charity added: “It is testament to the success of our programme and the legacy it leaves that many volunteers return year after year.”

PA