A group of 14 students from Abbey Gate College in Chester, have just returned from a three-week expedition to Swaziland to build a new kitchen at Mbita Primary School, courtesy of Sense Africa and the Eswatini Tourism Authority (STA).
The students played a significant role in the planning and preparation of the expedition, in particular in the organising of fundraising events.
The project had been identified and requested by the local community, was jointly funded and undertaken, and will be of great benefit to the whole community. As well as building the kitchen, the group also contributed to local conservation projects.
In 2014, Abbey Gate College embarked upon a partnership with Mlindzini High School and its feeder primaries which led to students travelling to Swaziland to help improve facilities and amenities in the remote rural schools, including the construction of an access road which aided travel to and from Nhlangano.
“The expedition provided students with a fantastic opportunity to visit one of the safest and most diverse areas of Africa, which gave them experiences and skills which they will value for the rest of their lives.”
The expedition this summer supported the college’s ongoing partnership with Mlindzini High School and also gave students a huge range of opportunities to explore new landscapes, understand different cultures and develop a wealth of personal skills and experiences.
English teacher Karen Jackson said about the experience: “The expedition provided students with a fantastic opportunity to visit one of the safest and most diverse areas of Africa, which gave them experiences and skills which they will value for the rest of their lives.”
According to Jenny Bowen, director of Sense Africa, the students also had the chance to visit Hlane Royal National Park, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and Malolotja Nature Reserve.
“The fundraising challenges that enabled the trip to come to fruition were key and have allowed the pupils to leave a significant mark on the lives of people at Mbita Primary School,” she said.