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Acle students pack sum fun for Africa trip that really adds up

09:13 08 March 2013

Acle Academy pupils who are preparing for a charity trip to Kenya. The school is taking supplies of stationary to give to the children out there.
Owen Gooch with Alice, Millie, Cari, Nancy, Beth, Lydia and Harriet.

Picture: James Bass

Acle Academy pupils who are preparing for a charity trip to Kenya. The school is taking supplies of stationary to give to the children out there. Owen Gooch with Alice, Millie, Cari, Nancy, Beth, Lydia and Harriet. Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2013

A haul of pens, pencils, protractors, calculators and compasses are being busily packed away in boxes by a team of charitable youngsters, as they prepare to fly their goodwill gifts to Africa.

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The maths supplies are being collected by students from Acle Academy as they ready themselves for an exploratory trip of a lifetime to Kenya, to meet and work with pupils in the capital city of Nairobi.

For the last four years the South Walsham Road school has flown a group of year 9 students out to Kenya to take much-needed supplies to their partner primary schools, and give pupils the chance to experience another culture.

The trip also aims to build on students’ leadership and organisation skills as they will be taking classes while in Nairobi and have had to plan fundraisers over the last few months to help pay for their £1,600 air fare.

Headteacher Tim Phillips said: “It’s about developing a whole set of skills; being good team players, developing independence and confidence and practical skills around communication - how to plan events for fundraising as well as planning their own trip.

“Part of the (reason) we send year nines is we want them to be in school, having had those experiences, to support the next cohort and to give something back to the school.”

Last year’s trip went laden with knitted bonnets to help keep the Nairobi locals warm in winter and this year the students will be loaded with maths equipment and shoes, at the request of their African neighbours. They will also be taking sports gear to ensure their four partner schools remain equipped.

The 19-strong team of young globetrotters, who jet off at the end of June, are excited about the upcoming trip after months of fundraising, which has included supermarket bag packing sessions, jumble sales, cake sales and an Acle’s Got Talent competition.

Millie Lythell, 14, from Acle, said she was looking forward to working in the schools.

“It’s a life experience you might not get a chance to go on again,” she added

Fellow traveller Alice Sutton, from Lingwood, is expecting things to be quite different in Nairobi.

The 13 year old added: “It’s a different life out there to what we have. It’s good to see what their lives are like.”

As well as raising money for their plane tickets, the intrepid travellers and 10 fellow support students that have helped organise events, have also been fundraising £1,000 for Project Porridge.

The foodie scheme provides breakfast for the thousands of Nairobi students at the partner schools, and as part of their work the Acle students will be helping to dish up the porridge in the mornings.

The school is holding an open day on March 16, when Kenya project students will be on hand to discuss the trip.

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