After two years of planning and fundraising a group of New Forest students finally got their chance to make a real difference to communities in Africa.
Sixteen Year 11 and 12 students from The Arnewood School, New Milton spent three weeks in Zambia where they helped children in an orphanage, re-decorated an old people’s home, built a student accommodation block and helped to protect lions.
The youngsters also had a special delivery – thousands of items of PE clothing donated by students from Arnewood, which they gave to a Zambian orphanage and school.
Their efforts were greatly appreciated and one 15 year-old boy called Jacob who in particular saw his life change thanks to the Arnewood students.
The boy could not speak or write his own name but after a week’s worth of workshops with the Arnewood students he could do both.
Headteacher of The Arnewood School, Nigel Pressnell, said: “I am very proud of each and every one of our students who went on the Zambia expedition.
“They have been working tirelessly for two years for this opportunity of a lifetime, including raising £3,500 each to go on the trip and in addition £11,000 for two Zambian charities.
“Through their efforts they have gone to Africa and helped to change the lives of others less fortunate than themselves.”
In the first week of the trip the students split into two groups – with one group spending time at an orphanage and the other group at an old people’s home, both in Livingstone.
At the orphanage the students helped to create a new vegetable garden for the residents and clean the home in time for a visit from a bishop.
They also ran workshops for the orphanage’s children to teach them English and songs.
Meanwhile over at the old people’s home the students re-painted every single one of the bedrooms – much to the residents’ delight.
Their second week was spent in the Makuni village where the students helped constructors build a new accommodation block for girls at the local school.
They also spent time in the school’s special needs unit delivering lessons and making learning resources.
The students’ Zambia expedition culminated in a week-long stay with the ALERT charity where they supported the organisation’s efforts in protecting the lion population.
Activities included preparing food for the lions, cleaning out their enclosures and even making toys for the animals.
Student, Charlie Gates, said: “I found the Zambia expedition to be a very enlightening experience, it was a fantastic trip.
“One of the most insightful parts of the expedition was when we worked with the school in Mukuni village. Whilst there I realised that the village is the place most unlike home I have ever been to.
“I also noticed how the kids are so happy despite having very little; I also witnessed this when t we were at Lubasi children’s home in Livingstone.
“The trip as a whole helped me realise, that when compared to the rest of the world, I am actually very privileged. The expedition will forever form some of my fondest memories.”
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