Brock2Kenya 12-day humanitarian mission provided flushable toilets and running water for street kids

27 November 2023

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TWENTY-SIX Enrichment students travelled more than 4,000 miles to Kenya recently to build on Brockenhurst College’s humanitarian legacy at three projects for orphaned street children, leaving behind flushable toilets and running water at one.

The group of Brock2Kenya sixth formers worked at three separate charity projects during the 12-day trip, with efforts and resources split between Melon Mission School, Little Kings Nursery, and Silver Bells Welfare Centre for Orphaned Children.

All three projects exist in severely deprived areas around the city of Nakuru, which is approximately 100 miles north-west of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

After months of planning and fundraising in the UK, the students helped with the final days of installation of flushing toilets and sinks with running water at Silver Bells.

This has given the facility proper sanitation for the first time, cutting the risk of children contracting waterborne diseases like cholera and typhoid.

The students sought to build on the legacy created by Brock learners who established an IT classroom and a library at Melon Mission School during similar trips in 2019 and 2022.

At each project, the group participated in the daily feeding programme, ran games and activities, coached youngsters on literacy and numeracy, provided face paints, and distributed much-needed provisions.

They even created lesson plans and ran classroom sessions in subject areas they are studying at college.

They also supplied paint, using it to brighten up various installations and depict learning symbols such as letters and numbers.

A total of 750kg of aid was distributed, including: clothes, shoes, toiletries, sanitary products, medical supplies, learning materials, toys and first aid kits.

Over 50 pairs of prescription glasses and optical testing equipment for assessing eyesight, which was donated by the local NHS, was delivered as well.

In addition, the group left behind a sewing machine at each project, provided by the College, and trained the local project workers in sewing skills in order to promote and enable self-reliance.

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.”

Away from the projects, the students toured 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, a local church and a market, giving them a well-rounded cultural appreciation of the region.

Plus, they attended a cultural exhibition in Nairobi that showcased tribal dancing, aspects of traditional village life and ancient houses.

They then slept under canvas at an eco-lodge on the capital’s outskirts during the final night.

Trip Lead Adrian Butterworth was supported throughout by Brock Careers Leader Alistair Lambon and two volunteers – Lorraine Lawrence and Ruth Wildman.

Brock2Kenya 2023 also saw the College take with them a wheelchair user for the first time – Bethany Cohu from Bransgore.

Bethany said: “I have always loved working with children, and so the focus of the trip being helping in schools was lovely, especially learning about how different the school and social system is compared to here – we really don’t realise how lucky we are.

“It was quite difficult for me as I have a physical disability called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which means that all my connective tissues in my body 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.”

Each of the three projects depends on charitable donations to meet the most basic human needs such as food and sanitation, as well as education.

Altogether the toilets project cost around £2,500, which was raised by Adrian and the team, who ran fundraising initiatives and canvassed donations from local businesses and private donors.

One student raised £500 by doing a sponsored skydive, and local retirement home business Colton Care donated £250.

Additional aid donations came from The Business Supplies Group and CLH Healthcare.

Each student financed their own travel, food and accommodation costs, which totalled around £2,200 each.

Trip Lead, Adrian Butterworth, said afterwards: “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.”