Farlington School’s Tanzania trip has won ‘Excursion of the Year’ at The Argus newspaper’s Youth in Action awards. 15 prizes were presented at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton on 12 June.
The Farlington team was shortlisted, with LVS Hassocks for its German exchange and Chichester College for its Tanzania cycle ride, for the award sponsored by British Airways i360, an 162-metre observation tower being constructed on the Brighton seafront.
The Argus launched The Youth in Action Education Awards to recognise students’ successes as well as those of their teachers and support staff. The awards champion everyone across Sussex who deserves reward for outstanding work and sacrifice during the past year.
Last summer 21 Farlington students, three teachers and an expert expedition leader from specialist company ‘True Adventure’ had the true adventure of a lifetime in Tanzania. The brief was to experience the real country, meet the people, do some meaningful work alongside local people and then have some rest and relaxation.
Students with children in Kinole
Each girl raised £2,800 to fund the expedition to Kinole, a quiet, isolated village at the foot of the Uluguru Mountains. The school of 1,050 students and just 19 teachers is at the heart of the community, and Muslim and Christian families live and study side by side. The children and staff clearly had great pride in their school, but the buildings were in a sorry state with huge holes in some of the concrete floors and dirty faded walls, which simply did not reflect the atmosphere and ethos of the place.
The Farlington team had just a few days to transform the site physically so that it better reflected the positive, upbeat, happy community that it housed. Classrooms were emptied, concrete and gallons upon gallons of paint were bought and mixed, local workmen were hired, holes were filled, walls were scrubbed and then painted and painted and painted. Work went on well into the night with the help of head torches.
Students had just days to complete the project
By the end of the project, the team had painted 11 classrooms inside and out and four new floors had been laid. Classroom furniture had been mended and the school now matched the expectations and high standards of the students and staff. In his speech at the end of their labours, the Headmaster commented specifically on how amazed he was that a group of women could achieve so much physical work in such a short space of time. In a country where 95% of girls do not go onto secondary education but into domestic life and marriage, it was a bonus to show an example of just how much women can achieve when given the chance.
Jane Williams, Farlington School’s Head of Years 10 and 11, who organised the trip, commented: “We are delighted to have won this Youth in Action Award. The girls worked so hard on the trip; they packed more into two weeks’ adventure than many do in an entire gap year. They certainly made a genuine, long-lasting difference to the lives of over a thousand students and staff of an East African school. It is wonderful to see that effort rewarded by this award.
”Farlington is going to Zambia with True Adventure next summer. The girls are working hard to raise the money to go. I’m sure it will be as successful and rewarding as the Tanzania trip.’