On 16 February five Year 9 students from Stroud High School in Gloucestershire will embark upon a trip of a lifetime to Durban, South Africa as the winners of the 2013 Giving Nation video competition.
Working with Giving Nation’s charity partner, the Wilderness Foundation, students will spend the week exploring the Wild Coast of South Africa where a two day marine and coastal trek will help them to connect closely with the natural environment.
Students will gain hands-on experience of conservation and learn about responsible tourism while learning alongside local communities. Through the course of the week the young people will be challenged to develop their leadership skills and reflect on how they can be harnessed for the benefit of their own communities when they return to the UK.
The highlight of the trip will be spent living with the local Xhosa community where students will be immersed in a new way of living, taking part in all aspects of village life including gathering water and firewood, preparing meals and volunteering at the local school.
The Giving Nation Challenge is a national initiative that celebrates and encourages young people to make a difference and shape the world they live in. The students from Stroud chose to run a range of fundraising initiatives in aid of a local charity, the Timmy Mason Trust. Amongst other things, students wrote, published and sold a magazine and swam the length of the English Channel! In total, their efforts raised in excess of £1,000. Students scooped the trip by making a video documenting their social action journey.
And how are they feeling about the experience?
‘Unfortunately, there are 33 people in our class and only 10 people could go on the trip. To make it fair, we all wrote application letters explaining what we did during the course of the fundraising and why we should be chosen to go to London or South Africa. After a couple of weeks, it was decided that the five of us were privileged enough to be chosen to go to South Africa.
‘We are all really excited about the trip and before we know it, it will be half term and we will be on a plane to Johannesburg. Whilst we are there, we will be travelling to Durban where we will be camping under the stars, trekking and helping out at a local primary school. It is going to be a great experience and a once in a life time opportunity.
‘We have never experienced anything like this before and we have set up this blog to share our wonderful experience with you. The countdown to the trip has begun and we hope to update you about our trip very soon!’