Pupils in Nepal are enjoying meals at their primary school for the first time thanks to a group of students and staff from Bilborough College.
Twenty-eight students and staff spent two weeks in Nepal this summer and before setting off they raised £4,780, with the support of a local charity, to pay for the construction of a new school kitchen at a local primary school.
Previously, children at the school were not given meals and many of them often struggled to concentrate or fainted in lessons due to the lack of food.
The group from Bilborough College also painted, decorated and furnished the kitchen as well as landscaping the school site and decorating a classroom for children with special needs. They are also planning to fund school meals for the next year.
Alice North, 17, said she felt proud of the work that students had done at the school.She said: “We had been told that some of the children at the school were passing out due to exhaustion because they hadn’t had anything to eat or often they would have to go home to eat. We were told that for every £1 they could feed 13 children so we are planning to help them feed the children for a year. We got a lot done when we were at the school and the opening ceremony they held for the kitchen was lovely. They were so grateful. The whole trip was so rewarding, it was also humbling and inspiring. I think we had a massive effect on the school, which is amazing.”
Students stayed with local families for one night and Kerian Goold, 17, said he enjoyed that experience.
He said: “We stayed with families and they showed us how they would prepare the land and the irrigation system that they had set up. It was very interesting. The houses varied, some of them were very basic and people were sleeping on wooden slats and foam. Whilst we were out there we also made some solar lights that the children could use at night so they could do their homework. I think the work we did at the school was a small contribution but it will make a big difference. I think the volunteering that we did was really gratifying.”
Simon Holland, Lead Tutor at Bilborough College, said the Nepal trip was an incredible experience for everyone involved.
He said: “This was a wonderful experience for both me and our amazing students who worked so hard to raise funds, form a bond with the Nepalese children and ensure the school kitchen was finished and opened on time.
“On completion of the project we held a wonderful opening ceremony where the children sang, danced and were so very grateful for the work and support of their new friends from the UK. The teachers and governors were very excited about the huge difference the kitchen will make to so many children and the kitchen was officially opened with a plaque unveiling and traditional lighting of a candle.
“The trip is a key part of our Bilborough Extra programme of additional opportunities for students which make a real difference to their time at college, their employability and in securing high quality progression after college.”
Students and staff were accompanied by three staff from ethical travel company, Travelteer, and they also spent eight days exploring the country, visiting the Monkey Temple in Kathmandu and going on safari in Chitwan National Park where they saw crocodiles, elephants and rhino.
Nepal is one of two residential trips the college offers, the other being Sri Lanka. For this trip students also fundraise and support local communities and schools and as well as assist in turtle sanctuaries.