STUDENTS who spent a year fundraising for two schools in Kenya have just returned from the trip of a lifetime.
Two groups of students from New College each spent two weeks of their summer holiday in July volunteering at two schools in Nakuru, Kenya, with the Younite Outreach Project.
Both groups visited The Melon School for Orphans and the Silver Bells School, where they taught the youngsters in a range of subjects including Sport, Maths, English, Law, Business, Science, Music and Drama.
The New College students also helped with maintenance work at the schools including laying a new floor in one of the classrooms at Silver Bells and building a new fence at Melon.
“Everyone should have the opportunity to go out there and just experience what it’s like to live in a different culture,” said Tia Greenbridge, who was one of the 33 students who took part in the trip who each had to raise at least £1,400 to go.
Their fundraising included taking part in bag packs, sky dives, hosting local gigs and organising events such as a charity ball and talent show.
The 17-year-old from Walcot said: “The children have absolutely nothing but they are so happy and so respectful. It really taught me to appreciate what I have and now I think more about what I have and what I need, and I’m far more resourceful.
“For me, personally, it was my first trip away from my parents, so I became more independent and mature as well. But you don’t realise until you come back what you’ve learned.”
Fiona Simpson, Enrichment Co-ordinator at New College, set up the Younite Outreach Project after visiting both schools several years ago.
She said: “It is the fourth year we have taken the students out to help the two schools and it’s open to all the students at the college.
“I think a lot of people think the students decide in the couple of weeks before the trip whether they want to go, but it’s actually quite a big commitment they have to make throughout the year to work to raise the money.
“And I think it’s actually quite a thing for a young person to say to themselves that they are going to raise the money so they can spend their summer helping children in Africa rather than going on holiday.
“In terms of our students at New College, the trip is a good enrichment opportunity where students can develop skills they won’t learn in the classroom.
“Volunteering is also such a good thing to do. When you donate money you never know exactly where it is going but if you volunteer you can directly see the impact you’re having.
“Over the past four years New College students have helped to build a new classroom, install mains water and water tanks so children can wash their hands after going to the toilet and before eating. And it’s amazing the difference they have made.”
Team Leader Sophie Moore was also struck by the experience.
She said: “This was my first trip to Kenya and it certainly changed my perspective on life.
“Our students worked incredibly hard to help give these children a better education and school environment.
“I am so proud of them for taking on such a big challenge at such a young age. This was a rewarding experience for everyone involved.”
People in the community can also volunteer in Kenya through Younite Outreach Project.
- For more information about how you can get involved n the next trip in Spring 2015, visit www.yoproject.co.uk