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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 October, 2003, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
Prince inspires Islamic garden
Children with their mosaic
The children at the school with BBC presenter Claire Summers
A barren area of school playground in one of Wales' most multi-racial areas has been transformed into an Islamic garden.

The aim of the project is to promote racial harmony.

Children from the St Mary the Virgin primary school in Butetown, Cardiff, have worked with BBC Wales and local businesses over the past year to create the garden.

Inspired by Prince Charles' design for an Islamic garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, the project was to help the school educate Muslim and non-Muslim children about the Islamic faith and encourage respect for other cultures.

They sing and dance there and really make the most of it
Pam Perry, St Mary the Virgin school
Two-thirds of the children at the school are from Somali or Yemeni backgrounds and are of the Muslim faith.

Learning support assistant Pam Perry said the garden had made a difference to the 153 pupils.

"The children absolutely love the garden," she said.

"We have spent a lot of time planting herbs and things and they really enjoy it because it gives them hands-on learning experience.

"But it is more than that too.

"They have now got somewhere they can sit and enjoy because not all of the children want to play football during their breaks.

"It is somewhere they can call their own and they really do like it - they sing and dance there and really make the most of it," she said.

Headteacher Julie Bowman
Headteacher Julie Bowman helped to create the garden

The 3,000 project has been funded through contributions from local businesses and money-raising events held by the school.

A design team from BBC Wales came up with the inspiration behind its final look by laying three Persian rugs in the sun.

From there a herb garden with plants which originate from the east was developed, along with decked space for teaching and relaxing.

Finally the mosaic, designed by the pupils, was introduced surrounded by five trees to represent the five pillars of the Islamic faith.

"A lot of the children who come to the school don't have gardens," said Mrs Perry.

"But this area is something they really enjoy," she added.


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