A CARING group of students from The College Ystrad Mynach are heading to Africa this month (March) to teach young third world children
Eight teenagers will fly to Lesotho on Sunday, March 18, and spend two weeks at a junior school where they will help the under-privileged young children develop their English language skills through play and fun activities.
The all-female group, who are studying either childcare or health and social care, have been hard at work with activities to raise the £800 they each need to fund the once-in-a-lifetime trip
Early years lecturer Alyson Lewis, one of three supervisors on the trip, explained what the students will be doing when they arrive in landlocked Lesotho, where around 40% of the two million population live below the poverty line.
“To help the children there, our students will be playing games and makingcrafts, organising basic stimulation activities and teaching English through nursery rhymes and songs,” she said.
Alyson, who also went on the trip last year, said the Ystrad students would discover a vast difference between their lives in South Wales and those of the Lesotho children, a number of whom are orphans.
She added: “The school has very limited resources and the classrooms are literally like shells. The floors are dusty and all they have is a chalkboard.”
As well as helping the young Lesotho children with their education, Alyson said the college students will benefit hugely from their experience.
Alyson added: “It will help to develop a cultural link for our students who will be able to see how a third world country is so different to their own.
“It makes the students grateful for what they have here in Wales and as the girls will need to think on their feet and work as a team, they will each be developing individually as a person.”
Student Amy Jones, 19, from Nelson, said they had been holding ironing sessions and selling recipe books and raffle tickets to raise funds for the trip.
Amy, who hopes to go on to study at Lancaster University, said: “I’m going to learn to live without luxury and how to cope in different situations and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m sure I’ll never forget it.”
It is the third year a group from the college has visited Lesotho, which is completely surrounded by South Africa.
The link with Lesotho was forged by the college’s former Head of Care Lesley Cox, who made her first trip to the African country through her church in Penarth and then set up the link with the college.
Lesley, who retired in December, is also going on the trip in March.