Oxford and Banbury students built classrooms, prepared trenches and improved drainage for deprived children in Africa.
Health and childcare students from Activate Learning colleges in Banbury, Oxford and Reading returned from the eye-opening volunteering trip to two Kenyan schools on April 7.
The students, from Banbury and Bicester College, City of Oxford College and Reading College, left for Africa on March 27 as part of African Adventures’ Meaningful Volunteering Experience.
The first project was to paint the classrooms and chalkboard of the Chaddy Mission School in Nakaru.
They also prepared trenches and cleared an area in preparation for an improved drainage system and water tank to be installed.
Students helped build the shell of new classrooms at the second school, Cherish School, also in Nakaru.
Children at the school were also given a toothbrush each and shown how to take care of their teeth.
Early years teacher Vicky Donnelly and English teacher Sylvia Hall led the students during the trip.
Sylvia said: “We were made quickly aware that teaching new songs, assisting with classroom activities, repainting of classroom blackboards and just giving individuals attention was very much appreciated and welcomed by the staff and the young learners.
“The principal of the school where I was placed informed us that the building work we undertook had saved him thousands of Kenyan shillings.”
Vicky added: “It was definitely an eye opener for everyone and a shock realisation that they [students] could eat and drink anything they wanted, pop to the shops or even just go to the toilet or for a shower, almost at any time, whereas the facilities in Kenya did not allow that.
“All the students worked hard across both the schools, teaching, building and playing with the children.”
Students said they were surprised that the children in Kenya were so happy when “it seems they have very little”.
Students reflected on how they used to take everything for granted, but after the trip, they won’t anymore.
Activate Learning is a forward-thinking education group working across further and higher education, schools, apprenticeships and training.