Students leave behind personal belongings during a volunteer trip to deprived Kenyan school
PUBLISHED: 11:56 13 March 2019
Ely College students were so moved by the poverty at a school in Kenya during a 10-day volunteer trip that many left shoes, clothes and personal belongings behind for the young people.
Teenagers and staff took part in the life changing trip to Kenya’s Rift Valley to volunteer with their partner schools in the Nakuru slums.
The Ely College team flew out to support disadvantaged children at the Jubilee and Ungana Academies in Kenya where they helped with classroom renovations and building new toilet blocks.
Teacher Sheila Branch, who jointly led the trip and commended the students for their hard work and compassion, said: “Many chose to leave their own clothes, shoes and personal belongings.
“Not one of our students complained about the desperately poor conditions.
“Despite each one of them giving their every effort, either labouring to improve the site or teaching the children in class, at the end of trip they still felt like they wanted to do more.”
Lauren Burrows, who also led the trip, said: “We are so proud of the students who have volunteered this year. There is a real sense of continuity and lasting legacy with each visit, adding to each building project to improve the resources.
“We have built a strong relationship with the staff in Kenya and they have been warm and generous hosts.”
Over the last few years, students from Ely College have developed a close connection with two schools in the slums of Nakuru, Kenya’s fourth largest city.
Following the success of their October 2017 trip, many students vowed to return and have shown a tremendous commitment to fund raise for the Kenya Projects.
As well as cake stalls and sponsored swims, students looked to the people of Ely to support their efforts.
Mrs Branch said: “Ely College is so grateful to the community and local businesses who supported the Kenya Projects, either by sponsoring students or contributing to the mountain of shoes, clothes and school supplies that students took with them as extra luggage.
“The children, staff and parents, were delighted to be gifted even the most basic supplies which we take for granted in the UK.
“Having something to call their own made the world of difference and this was all thanks to generous donations from our wonderful local community.”
As Ely College bid farewell for another year, Kenyan staff and children gave each volunteer a locally made personalised bracelet as a memento of their life changing experience.