Eleven students aged 13 to 15 from Hampshire Collegiate School spent two weeks of their Easter holidays in Ghana on a volunteering project, a humbling and once in a lifetime experience.
Living in a rural community, Josh, Millie, Millie, Susie, Immy, Mia, Oakley, Charlie, Sam, Jack and Phoebe worked at Shalom Shalom School in the district of Keta, making bricks to build classrooms and working as teaching assistants – teaching a range of activities including Mathematics, Science, Geography, Art and PE to Ghanaian children aged from three to 16.
The experience was arranged with the charity African Adventures. They work in partnership with the Young Shall Grow International Charity, which gives Ghanaian orphaned street children a place to live and provides them with an education.
Each Hampshire Collegiate School student had to raise £2,000 through a variety of fundraising initiatives over 18 months to finance their trip and support their charitable work.
Evening activities for the students included learning the local language and visiting villages and markets. They dressed in local handmade African clothes and talked to whole villages, answered questions and shared their experiences from the trip. As a mark of gratitude, local pupils put on a show of dances from different Ghanaian regions and Hampshire Collegiate School students were presented with a poem. All the pupils plan to keep in touch in the future.
Hampshire Collegiate School teacher and expedition leader, Ailsa McLean, said: “The experience exceeded everyone’s expectations. It was a challenging two weeks of volunteering but our students learned a lot about themselves; it helped build a wide range of skills including teamwork, self-confidence and resilience. They worked tremendously hard and were amazing ambassadors for the school.”
During a break from volunteering, students trekked to the Wli waterfall and, from there, some chose a an additional, harder climb to a higher waterfall.