Learning about communities at first hand

A small group from Mount St Mary’s College has returned from a trip to a village in Zambia where they saw first-hand where their donation of funds will go to help equip the local school library.

The visit was just part of a recce by the college chaplain, Fr Simon Ellis, teacher Barbara Wigg, and Ken Dunn of charity, Africa’s Gift, who were visiting Chikuni in preparation for the school’s trip to Zambia in June 2015. They set in place plans to visit the Mount’s partner Jesuit Secondary School in Chikuni where they will carry out a range of projects within the community. They took along with them some technology that will benefit the community: portable cooking stoves, which will be part of a school project on sustainability. They also learnt how the fundraising efforts by pupils at Mount St Mary’s would benefit the school’s new library.

During their recce, the group visited the local Home Based Care centre for people with AIDS, which was built some years ago with funds raised by pupils from the Derbyshire school. They also visited the local primary school, the hospital, the radio station, the Museum and Community Centre and the Teacher Training College, where the group will be staying next year.

Fr Simon Ellis said: “The trip to Zambia will be an amazing opportunity for pupils to learn about global issues and develop new skills whilst also making a real difference to a community in another part of the world.”

Barbara Wigg will be returning to the area with the pupils next year. She said: “What really made the trip a life changing experience for me was meeting the local people, who are most welcoming and who have so little, but who are so very grateful for what they do have – a sobering thought in our consumer driven society.”

Photo: The dance group in Chikuni gets to grips with a clean burn stove.