Adventurous pupils from a Northumberland school took part in a trip of a lifetime to carry out volunteer work with a poverty-hit community in South Africa.
The 17 sixth form students from The Northumberland Church of England Academy (NCEA) travelled to the township of Alexandra, one of the poorest urban areas in the country, to help renovate a local church and school. They also spent time working with elderly residents in a care home and children in an orphanage,
During their visit the group were also given the opportunity to visit the capital Cape Town, and see animals roaming in the wild on safari.
Last year NCEA was presented with the British Council’s International School Award: a badge of honour for schools that do outstanding work in international education.
The students raised the cash themselves to fund the trip through a range of enterprising events from school tuck shop, car-washing service, summer ball and the Boxing Day Dip.
It followed on from last year’s volunteer project which saw students travel to Kenya and will now be an annual event in the sixth form calendar.
Student Aimee Staines said: “The trip to South Africa made me grateful for things that all of us in the group take for granted daily.
“Seeing the children’s faces after our hard work was finished made the whole project completely worthwhile.
“I would strongly recommend to anyone to get involved with a project such as this and to help others around the world.”
Teacher Matthew Henry who accompanied the students to South Africa, said: “This was a fantastic experience for students and staff alike.
“It was a great pleasure to watch our students adapt and change with the different challenges they faced both before and during the trip.”