From education to employment

Brockenhurst College students, staff and volunteers create lasting legacy at charitable school in Kenya

Sixteen students, two staff and two volunteers from Brockenhurst College spent ten days at a charitable school in Kenya recently, working to improve IT education by commissioning The Brockenhurst College IT Room, among other endeavours.

The July trip was the climax of an extra-curricular ‘Enrichment’ project and part of the College’s links with Melon Mission School and Little Kings Nursery.

A total of £5,800 was raised by the team, which was used to fund the IT project and provide extra equipment and resources at the two projects.

Melon Mission School supports 450 street children, many of whom are orphans, in a severely deprived area of Nakuru, 100 miles north-west of the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

To enable the children to learn skills needed for 21st Century careers, the Brock students spent £3,000 they had raised, commissioning the IT learning facility that is named after the College.

The money has paid for a new classroom, teacher training and Wi-Fi internet access using old laptop computers donated by Brockenhurst College.

At nearby Little Kings Nursery, which cares for 50 infants, the students spent time using further funds to entertain the children and renovate buildings.

They painted the nursery’s exterior after paying a local tradesman to render the building and added numbers and letters to the decoration for extra educational value.

The students then held educational workshops for the youngsters, covering important areas such as hygiene, literacy and numeracy.

The group of first and second year A Level and Vocational students also handed out 500kg of clothes, sports kits, sanitary protection, household equipment, medical supplies and learning materials during the trip.

All the beneficiaries were vulnerable children who have fallen out of state education due to being unable to pay for uniforms and personal learning resources.

Both the projects the group helped support children who depend on charitable donations to meet the most basic human needs such as food and adequate sanitation, as well as education.

The travel, accommodation and food costs of the trip were funded by the students themselves, with donated funds totalling £5,800 coming from a series of events including quiz nights, toy and book sales, and a fundraising party.

Student Ally Gregory from New Milton said:

“Kenya was one of the best experiences I have ever had. The time over there brought our group closer because we got to know each other better, plus the locals were so kind and welcoming.

“It was really easy to interact with the children, and we had so many opportunities to experience a range of different things throughout our time there.

“The trip inspired me and helped me grow as a person. I was taken out of my comfort zone, and this made my experience in Kenya incredible – I can’t wait to go back,” she added.

Trip Lead Adrian Butterworth said: “When I first visited the school six months ago there was nothing but a few old cow sheds – no running water, no toilets, no electricity, virtually nothing…

“Since then, successive projects have transformed the learning experience for these children, and we are very pleased to have established a legacy project in the form of the school’s new IT facility.

“I’m extremely proud of our students’ enthusiasm and dedication to the project, as well as all the things we’ve been able to contribute.

“I’m really looking forward to next year’s programme and the sustainable progress we can make by establishing this lasting legacy for good.”

The trip was organised in partnership with Swindon based Younique Travel Adventures (YTA), whose charitable arm donated an extra £100 per head to the project in the form of cashback from each participants’ travel fee.

As well as adding content to the students’ UCAS university applications, their participation in both the trip and wider initiative has given the teenagers evidence of success for their growing CVs.

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