Aldenham School, Founded 1597

Malawi Trip 2015

Our link with the East African charity Ripple Africa continues with another group of students and teachers volunteering again this summer for a 3-week visit. The thirteen Year 12 pupils showed good spirit from the very start of the trip as they initially made their way to South Luangwa National Park in Zambia for a safari experience, giving them a chance to acclimatise and enjoy seeing some of the animals up close. The group were fortunate to witness some very special moments watching the various animals in a natural setting, including lions, elephants and leopards.

Then it was off to Malawi for two weeks of hard work, interacting with local Malawians and learning about life in one of the world's poorest countries. Aldenham is lucky to be the only school group to be able to go and work alongside Ripple Africa, as past pupil Geoff Furber and his wife Liz, the charity's founders, kindly extend an invitation to Aldenham pupils each year.

The students showed a great deal of sensitivity towards the local people and a genuine interest in learning about their culture and way of life as they tackled every task given to them with enthusiasm. Right from the first night when the pupils joined in with the local choir's traditional songs and dances with such delight and willingness, it was clear that this group would truly represent the best of the Aldenham spirit.

As the days continued, the pupils put their hand to anything and everything! This included tree-tending, potting and mud brick making at Ripple Africa's headquarters; moving heavy loads of sand and bricks at Kapanda secondary school for the building of the kitchen and toilet block for the new girls' dormitory building; painting beautiful numbers, letters and murals on the wall of Mwaya Pre-School; Cassava farming and building ‘changu changu moto' fuel efficient stoves in the homes of local people, to name but a few. It was certainly an active programme.

Pupils took an active role in lessons at all phases of education, from pre-school through to secondary school. Our students gained an understanding of how different schooling in Malawi is, with limited resources, equipment and large classes, usually up to or over 100 pupils!

A big Thank You goes out to the wonderful people at Ripple Africa and also to the whole Aldenham community for providing equipment to be sent out to Malawi, attending fundraising events or helping in any way.

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