Homewood School & Sixth Form Centre, Ashford Road, Tenterden, Kent. TN30 6LT
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World challenge are an organisation who provide the opportunity for secondary students in Years 11-13 to participate in spending 4 weeks in a low income country. The objective is for all students to raise their own funds to partake in the expedition which is achieved through part time employment and fund raising events.
The expeditions are split into four phases. An acclimatisation phase sees students complete a trek which allows them to adjust to the different climate and culture, the main trek is chosen by the students and is made as challenging as they require. The third phase consists of a community based project which allows the students to give something back to a local community through construction work or teaching. Finally, rest and relaxation, this is usually spread out across the four week trip and allows the students to partake in chosen activities, for example a safari.
A World Challenge expedition to South Africa was organised for the summer of 2008. Twenty-five students took part in the expedition and spent 4 weeks in South Africa. The students were split into two teams, visiting Swaziland, St Lucia Wetlands, Durban and Umtata, however, one team completed their trek along the Wild coast of the Eastern Cape and the other team in the Drakensburg mountains.
Both teams spent a week at Homewood’s link school – the Dimanda School, which is located close to Umtata. Whilst at the school the teams helped renovate the old classrooms, through replacing broken glass, painting exterior walls and doors, planting trees, laying concrete in the classrooms and plastering the classroom walls – all with the aim of improving the learning environment for the students at Dimanda.
In 2011 another group of 23 students will undertake their World Challenge expedition to Malawi. Four weeks will be spent in Malawi, again two teams have been created. One team will head north from Lilongwe whilst the other team will head south.
One team’s community based project is to renovate a health clinic in a remote rural area to improve the living conditions for the health workers who work and live at the clinic, whilst the other team are helping out a local orphanage.
Recently, 18 Homewood School students and 4 members of staff returned following a successful four week expedition to Southern Tanzania. Teams were accompanied by Mr Crumbie (Principal Teacher of Geography), Miss Harris (Principal Teacher of Dance), Mr Crittell (Teacher of PE) and Mrs MacEnri (Teacher of Health and Social Care).
Students were in two teams, with Team 1 carrying out their Acclimatization trek in the Udzungwa National Park and Team 2 in the Baobab Valley.
Both teams carried out their community projects at primary schools where they painted classrooms, exterior walls, fixed desks, donated learning resources (designed by students at Homewood School) and interacted with the students in and out of the classroom. Team 1 spent their time at Wangama Primary School and Team 2 at Kilambo Primary School.
Both teams completed their challenging 6 day trek climbing to the summit of Mount Rungwe (2960m) and found the experience very rewarding and the sights exhilarating.
Teams enjoyed a period of rest and relaxation on a two day safari in the Ruaha National Park and spent a couple of days on the coast, south of Dar es Salam.
Susannah now in Year 12 said,
“My World Challenge expedition to southern Tanzania was amazing. The physical challenge of the trek was rewarding as we climbed to 2,960m and travelled 70km over 5 days while carrying all our kit. We spent a week at a local primary school where we renovated the classrooms and played games with the children. They were all so friendly and appreciative and the female teachers helped us cook for our team of 12 over an open fire. They were so generous despite having so little and the sense of community was heart warming and everyone was very welcoming.
It was an incredible experience that made me appreciate things we take for granted and all the fantastic opportunities available to us in our country.”
All students have had the experience of their lives and have certainly returned back to the UK with a slightly different outlook on life.
Mr Crittell is now in the process of launching the school’s next expedition to Ecuador in the summer of 2015. If you would like any information on this trip or would like to sponsor the new team, or donate prizes for raffles please contact Mr Crittell on email@example.com.