Ely pupils visit Africa to give a helping hand to children living in the slums of Kenya
PUBLISHED: 17:00 26 February 2016
A team of 21 students and staff from Ely College gave up their half-term break to volunteer at two schools in one of Africa's largest slums.
The team was working in Nakuru, Kenya helping the two schools provide education for some of the area’s poorest children.
Over 600,000 people live in the Nakuru slum, which is the fastest growing town in Africa.
The team completed the building of a new classroom for Ungana Academy and repaired several classrooms at Jubilee Academy.
In addition to the building work the volunteers worked alongside the teachers in classes, taught lessons, organised sporting activities and carried out community visits, taking much needed provisions to families in dire need.
The trip also included a visit to the Nakuru dump, upon which over 200 families live and scrape together a living.
Many of the children living on the dump attend schools run by the African Adventures Foundation with whom the Ely team were travelling.
In their luggage the group took over 21 bags of school shoes, children’s socks and underpants, all donated by the Ely College community. These were gratefully received by the schools’ children.
The trip was capped off with a visit to an elephant orphanage and a chance to feed giraffes at the Nairobi Giraffe Sanctuary.
Team member Jessica-Ellen Ball said: “It was the best week of my life. I am so glad I came; I never thought that I could make such a difference to the lives of others. It was an amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone. I can’t wait to come back again.”
The team have spent the last year fund raising for the trip and plans are already being made for another trip next year.
Many of the students are keen to return, including Neve Armstrong, who celebrated her 15th birthday during the 10 days.
She said: “It’s been an emotional and challenging trip but has been the best thing I’ve done. It really has been life changing and I will return.”
Team leader and director of the sixth form, Mark Sirot-Smith added: “I am so proud of the team; it was a privilege to have been a part of such a hardworking and dedicated group of volunteers. Despite the appalling poverty and lack of resources at the two schools, the team saw first-hand how love and education can change the lives of these children.
“By coming here our students have really made a difference and their work will benefit hundreds of children now and in the future. The directors of the two schools were amazed by how much they achieved and how they were always looking for more to do. They all have new families in Kenya and will be missed.”