Enrichment students complete 12-day Kenya mission to help impoverished youngsters
Posted on: 22nd November 2022
TWENTY Enrichment students from Brockenhurst College flew to Kenya recently on a humanitarian mission to help improve the life chances of children living in extreme poverty.
The group of 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.
At Melon Mission School the students built on the legacy created by Brock learners who established the Brockenhurst College IT Classroom during a similar trip in 2019.
As well as donating ten additional laptops from college stocks and repairing and upgrading existing machines, they created a library next door in a former storage shed.
This meant installing shelving units and then cataloguing the range of fiction and non-fiction learning resources for easy reference, ready for use by the 450 pupils by the following day.
In total, the new Brockenhurst College Library at Melon Mission contains around 1,000 books, donated by both the College and the charity Books for Africa.
At Little Kings Nursery, which looks after 70 children aged 3 – 8, the group commissioned local tradespeople to build a shelter that will provide respite from heavy rain and intense sun, and function as an additional teaching area.
Then, at Silver Bells Welfare Centre, which cares for 120 children aged 3 – 8, the students spent a day providing practical help and teaching support, while also working to understand the needs of children and staff at the newly-linked project.
At all three projects the group participated in the daily feeding programme, played games, ran activities, coached children on literacy and numeracy, and distributed much-needed provisions.
In addition, they painted and illustrated various installations using bright colours to depict and embellish learning symbols such as letters and numbers.
During their work at Little King’s Nursery they even gave their lunch away to the children after realising the youngsters had nothing to eat that day.
Each project depends on charitable donations to meet the most basic human needs such as food and sanitation, as well as education.
Most of the children who benefit are orphans who live locally on the streets of Nakuru.
The students took 720kg of donations with them, including clothes, shoes, toiletries, sanitary products, medical supplies, learning materials and sports equipment.
These were handed out across the three projects, with each child receiving an individual item and gift.
The group also left behind a month’s worth of maize, rice and cooking oil at each project, worth around £450 in total.
Most donations were financed through fundraising by the group, who are all members of the Brock2Kenya Enrichment programme.
Student Naomi Seaman raised £500 by climbing Mount Snowdon, boosting the overall budget to around £1,500.
Meanwhile, cosmetics retailer Lush donated 120 soap bars through a Brock2Kenya student who works there part-time.
Each student had to finance individual trip fees of almost £2,000 personally.
Naomi Seaman said: “If I was to sum up the trip in three words it would be life-changing, eye-opening and inspiring; from the day we got there I knew it would be a trip to remember.
“Our days spent at the schools teaching the kids and engaging in their activities gave us an insight into how they live their lives and how much we in Britain take for granted.
“Seeing their faces light up with joy and happiness at the impact we were making was the most moving and heart-warming part of the trip; I would do it all over again if I could.”
Away from the projects, the students toured the Rift Valley, went on safari in Nakuru National Park, and visited Hell’s Gate National Park and Menengai Crater.
They also visited a giraffe sanctuary and a crocodile sanctuary, plus a local church and market, giving them a well-rounded cultural appreciation of the region.
Trip Lead Adrian Butterworth was supported throughout by Brock Careers Leader Alistair Lambon and two volunteers, Lorraine Lawrence and Ruth Wildman.
He said afterwards: “It is difficult to put into words just how proud I am of the students; they were compassionate, empathetic, patient, adaptable, resilient, dependable, passionate and driven; it was hard not to become emotional at the selfless behaviour and maturity I witnessed each and every day from them all.
“They developed and learned many invaluable skills that will complement their studies and stand them in good stead for their future lives after college.
“This was the first Brockenhurst College overseas trip since the COVID-19 pandemic and took 18 months to plan; and on behalf of the College and the three projects in Kenya, I want to thank all of them for exemplifying the very best of British values.”
During the next trip in 2023 Adrian aims to install flushing toilets and sinks with running water at Silver Bells Welfare Centre.
This modernisation would substantially cut the children’s risk of contracting water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid, therefore reducing malnutrition and ultimately mortality rates.
Adrian hopes to raise £1,200 for this endeavour through the Brock2Kenya JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/adrian-butterworth-1