Students ready for South Africa trip
The teenagers from Bede Academy will spend two weeks at the Nokuphila nursery school, in Tembisa, north east of Johannesburg, where every child is either affected by or infected with HIV.
The Bede students – Catrina Dickson, Oliver Baron, Amber Witson, Krysta Hudspith, Caitlyn Rae, Emma James and Kim McVey – will teach the children songs, games and sport, supporting teachers at the school which is run by the Love Trust Christian charity.
The trip will strengthen ties between the charity and the Emmanuel Schools Foundation, of which Bede Academy is part. Its sister school, Emmanuel College, in Gateshead, has already raised £35,000 towards the setting up of a primary school to extend the children’s education beyond the age of six, which it is hoped will be a catalyst for a chain of similar schools across South Africa.
Caitlyn, 16, said:
“I wanted to volunteer because I never thought I’d get the chance to do something like this again.”
Catrina, 17, added:
“It’s a new experience that will really take us out of comfort zone, which I’m nervous but also excited about.”
Oliver, 16, explained that as the South African children do not speak English, the students will communicate through a Zulu interpreter.
“I don’t know 100 per cent what to expect, but I’m really looking forward to it,” he added.
The challenge for the students began months ago when they embarked on a fundraising campaign towards the £14,000 target needed for the trip.
They have taken part in a sponsored 300-mile marathon in the academy fitness suite, a bake sale and a host of individual fundraising, for example, musician Oliver playing his saxophone to a local luncheon club.
The final activity before they leave is a sponsored walk on July 7, but the students will have to continue with their fundraising to reach the final total in when they get back from South Africa.
Vice principal at Bede Academy Steve Nelson, who will accompany the students along with teachers James Leverton and his wife Emma Leverton, said:
“The trip is an opportunity to strengthen our links with Nokuphila School and to serve the children and staff there in any way we can.
“It will be an eye-opening experience for our students. They will take a huge amount from it, learning a lot about themselves and developing their character and skills for service, as well as providing valuable help to the school.”
The students will also get a chance to experience South Africa on a three-day safari at the beginning of their trip.