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Eye-Opening Trip to Kenya for Three Sixth Formers

Three sixth formers have returned from four weeks’ volunteer work in Kenya after raising £3,500 each to take part.

Ellie Warren, Elisha Taylor and Shaun Chivers signed up to the programme following Camps International's visit to KSA nearly two years ago. They spent 18 months fundraising and this summer, they overcame tough conditions to help with vital community projects in different areas of Kenya.

The first project saw them build trenches and fish ponds in Makongene, to help provide local women with a source of income. In week two they moved to Kaya where they got involved in forest conservation, replanting native species in very dry conditions.

The next project in Shimoni was marine conservation where the three collected rubbish from the beach. The discarded flip flops and plastic bottles are then used to make jewellery and other items to help provide an income for families. Shaun, Ellie and Elisha also helped to plaster a guest house, visited a primary school and had a go at scuba diving and snorkelling.

In their final week, they moved on to a camp in a national game reserve in Tsavo where they dug irrigation trenches and laid pipes. They also helped with some building work at two primary schools, and it was meeting the school children that was to have such an impact on Shaun, Ellie and Elisha.

Ellie said: "We met children who would sleep at school on the desks with one sheet over them. We asked why they stayed over and we were told that it was better than what they would have at home. All they had to eat every day was maize."

Elisha added: "Nothing fazed the people we met - they were still happy even though they only have the basics, like running water which we take for granted."

The three were accompanied by science teacher Louise Oliver, who said: "It was all about appreciating the difficulties of the Kenyans' day-to-day life, even the simplest things. They had to be constantly aware of water conservation and at one camp we had to do water runs three times a day for washing. They saw classrooms where 60 plus children are taught, with five children sharing one book. The size of the food portions had an impact on them - they wanted to give up their food for the primary school children.

"The three of them were brilliant - they picked up some Kiswahili so they could say a few words to the locals and thank them. They just wanted to make a difference. Some of it was very physical work but they wanted to do it because they could see the benefit for local people. I was very proud of them."

Shaun said: "I would have paid double to do the trip. It was much better than I'd imagined."