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Melksham student volunteers experience Kenyan life

Rather than spend their summer break relaxing or earning money, a Melksham student formed part group of nine students from Wiltshire College took a trip to Nakuru in Kenya to spend 10 days volunteering on two school projects. 

Holly Green, a childcare student from Melksham was part of the team that worked on projects including the Love 4 All Project. Students completed some new toilet blocks, made repairs to chairs and desks, and helped with teaching in the classrooms. This project offers an education for over 200 pupils, many of whom are orphans or former street children who also live at the school.

The other half of the team worked on the Mama Kerry school project. This was set up in 2008 after the election riots which saw lots of families displaced and homeless.

The school provides a free education as well as breakfast and lunch for over 200 pupils (often their only sustenance of the day) while also providing financial support to the pupil’s families through assisting business start-ups and donations. The team helped out by painting classroom walls, adding educational murals as well as teaching and serving lunches.

The trip was undertaken through African Adventures, an organisation that had started out working with families and children at the Hilton Dump landfill site.

Part of the trip for the Wiltshire College team included visiting the dump to see the work the organisation had been doing to ensure there is shelter for the families and to provide the children with education and support. The students also spent time visiting local landmarks, such as the Nakuru National Safari Park, the equator, Thomson Falls and the Menengai crater.

Despite the manual nature of much of the project work undertaken, not all of the students were studying relevant courses; but what motivates a beauty therapy student to pick up a hammer to hang a door in a toilet block? Melody Simms from Trowbridge clarifies, “It was the chance to experience something outside my comfort zone, to do something good, challenge myself and make my friends and families proud.” Apparently, she got quite good at it too!

The trip left a lasting impression on the students. Melksham’s Holly Green said,  “We have everything, they have nothing, but they are so happy.” She elaborated by saying, “It is absolutely the best thing I have ever done, I would recommend it to anyone. The children and adults are so welcoming, the songs and dances they did for us were amazing. It was a life changing experience.”

Student liaison officer Bea Lilly found leading the trip this year an absolute pleasure. She commented, “Everyone worked really well as a team, able to have a laugh with one another as well as supporting each other on the difficult days.”