Brockenhurst College students spend time in Kenya helping with charity projects at the Melon Mission School, Little Kings Nursery and Silver Bells Welfare Centre
A GROUP of Brockenhurst students spent nearly two weeks in Kenya helping with charity projects at a school, nursery and orphanage.
The 26-strong team of Brock2Kenya sixth formers, which included wheelchair user Bethany Cohu from Bransgore, travelled more than 4,000 miles to the city of Nakuru, about 100 miles north-west of the capital Nairobi.
They worked on three projects for orphaned street children which included the Melon Mission School, Little Kings Nursery and Silver Bells Welfare Centre.
The group helped out with meals, ran games and activities, and gave the youngsters coaching on literacy and numeracy.
They also enjoyed face-painting sessions and created lesson plans running classes on subjects they are studying at Brock.
The group also distributed aid in the form of clothes, shoes, toiletries, sanitary products, medical supplies, learning materials, toys and first aid kits.
More than 50 pairs of glasses and optical testing equipment donated by the local NHS were also given out by the students, along with sewing machines, with local charity workers being given sewing lessons.
At Silver Bells the students helped to install flushable toilets and running water, giving it proper sanitation for the first time and cutting the risk of the children contracting diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
Brock2Kenya student Sophie Gasnier, from Dibden Purlieu, said: “Working with the children in the schools helped me understand how different their lives are to ours, and their beaming smiles from the second we arrived was the most heart-warming thing.
“Aside from teaching in the classrooms and having fun playing with the children, we were able to make improvements to the buildings and facilities, which was exceptionally rewarding.
“The memories that I have made during Brock2Kenya 2023 will stay with me forever, and I will carry the skills I learned during the trip with me in my future career.”
During their time in Kenya the students also enjoyed a tour of the Rift Valley, went on safari in Nakuru National Park, where they saw lions in the wild, visited Menengai Crater and took a boat trip on Lake Naivasha.
They also visited a giraffe sanctuary and a local church market.
In Nairobi they attended a cultural exhibition which showcased tribal dancing, aspects of traditional village life and ancient houses.
Trip lead Adrian Butterworth was supported by Brock careers leader Alistair Lambon and two volunteers – Lorraine Lawrence and Ruth Wildman.
Bethany paid tribute to the team: “It was quite difficult for me as I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which means all my connective tissues don’t quite work properly and I experience a lot of pain and fatigue.
“Adrian, Alistair and the team were incredible at including me, and they were really excited for me to be part of the group, ensuring that I would participate in everything and be supported throughout the whole trip.”
The £2,500 cost of the toilet project was raised by staff and students and from sponsorship by local businesses.
Students paid their own travel and accommodation costs, around £2,200 each.
Speaking after they returned, Adrian said: “This group of students not only delivered but excelled in terms of desire, commitment, perseverance, adaptability, and initiative – they are a real credit to themselves, their families and Brockenhurst College.
“This year we took more students than ever before, distributed more aid than ever before, and made huge progress in developing a meaningful legacy that gathers momentum with each visit.”