In July, twelve pupils led by teachers Andrew Martens and Lily Davies-Evitt, visited charities in Nongoma, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. They were accompanied by Howard Smedley, founding member of the Oundle charity, Nongoma Friendship, which hosted the trip.
Nongoma Friendship was formed in 2011 with the aim of forging a link between the communities of Oundle and Nongoma, a rural settlement in Kwazulu-Natal. Since then, the charity has done much to help disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Nongoma, mainly through the Bhekanani Community Care and Support Centre.
In preparation for the trip, the Oundle pupils fundraised on behalf of the charity and doubled their original target with a total of £10,000 for Nongoma Friendship.
They spent a week helping out at Bhekanani Centre with their Food for Learning programme, which provides daily meals and support for over 80 vulnerable children. Many of these children come from families severely affected by HIV/AIDS. Getting to know and making friends with these children was a truly life-changing experience for the Oundle pupils. The pupils also travelled around the district of Nongoma, meeting disadvantaged families as well as people in the community who are actively involved in local charity work.
The trip ended with visits to the Imfolozi and Isimangaliso National Parks, learning about South Africa's spectacular wildlife.