Teja Saladi and Varchas Swamy are both in the Sixth Form at Derby Grammar School. To raise funds for their summer trip to Tanzania with the school they recently arranged a badminton tournament which attracted 120 players from all over the Midlands, including county players.
The boys are travelling to Gedeli B School in Mwanza, Tanzania in July this year as part of the school’s 10-year partnership project. Following two weeks at the school where they will be teaching and working on projects to improve the school, they will travel east and climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
The trip costs around £4000 and all students travelling are encouraged to discover their inner ‘Apprentice’ to raise their own money to fund it.
Both are keen badminton players and play regularly each week. They decided to combine their love of the sport with fundraising and put on a tournament to showcase skills.
A lot of the players who took part in the tournament had previously attended a fundraising meal the boys had arranged where they had raised £750 each.
Through playing badminton they both also know Nigel Cook, a key figure in Derbyshire Badminton Association, who helped them to promote the tournament to regional clubs.
They quickly realised the tournament was going to be very popular, with 60 doubles teams entering various categories – male, female, beginner, intermediate and advanced. Some travelled from as far as Coventry and Birmingham, including keen badminton player and Old Derbeian Chris Gerrett.
The tournament was played on 26 January at Etwall Leisure Centre. Varchas and Teja organised the schedule for the day, managed all of the entries and recruited volunteers to help run the tournament.
Winners were presented with their trophy and prize money by Karen Stebbings, Head of Derby Grammar School’s Sixth Form.
The boys raised £350 each towards their Tanzania fund total. Varchas said: “It was a lot of work but we were very grateful for the help and support of our badminton club.”
Teja added: “We really enjoyed it. Varchas and I also entered ourselves as a team. We didn’t win though!”
Vicky Charnock is one of the lead teachers responsible for the Tanzania Project. She said: “We really encourage our students travelling to Tanzania to raise their own funds and not rely on mum and dad. Every year we see some innovative fundraising events, from completing the Lyke Walk to climbing Mulhacén, the highest mountain in inland Spain.
Teja and Varchas put on an excellent event which took an incredible amount of organisation. I’m really proud of what they achieved.”