Students set off for humanitarian adventure

Fifteen students from Stoke on Trent College will travel to South Africa this month for an eleven-day volunteering trip which will see them distribute food parcels, volunteer at a shanty town soup kitchen and deliver sports and arts activities in schools.

The students will travel to South Africa after raising £650 each to fund their trip, as well as receiving support and donations from a host of local organisations including Stoke City Football Club Community Trust, Emma Bridgwater, Portmeirion and Stoke on Trent School Sport Partnership.

Pottery firm Moorcroft has also contributed to the fundraising activities, while local charity Above N Beyond has donated funds for 50 food parcels to be distributed in the deprived South African communities – known as shanty towns.

17-year old Joel Atchohe and Rhiannon Buccheri have both raised the £650 each needed to fund their trip, which will take place from 9th to 21st February. Families and friends will gather for a ‘send-off’ celebration on 6th February at the college’s Cauldon campus.

IT student Joel, from Tunstall, has carried out sponsored activities and raffle sales to raise his share of the funds. He says: “I’m really looking forward to handing out parcels in deprived areas and knowing that what we are doing is for a really good cause. It will help people.”

Rhiannon, from Norbury in Derbyshire, is studying a level 3 Health and Social Care qualification and plans to study Psychology with Counselling at university. She says: “I’m really looking forward to visiting the primary schools and doing coaching activities with the local children. It’s a great experience as I prepare to apply for university and of course helping people in this way is all relevant to my course and my career plans.”

“I have done the 6 towns sponsored walk, and got sponsorship from local companies including EE, B&Q and Burton telecommunications company, Kuehne Nagel.”

The fifteen students and their accompanying lecturers will depart from Stoke on Trent College on 9th February and return on 21st February. Their packed itinerary includes delivering sports and crafts activities in South African primary schools, creches and community projects, visiting Robben Island and the Cape of Good Hope, volunteering at a soup kitchen and organising netball and football matches.

Calvin Austin, Learner Involvement Coordinator at Stoke on Trent College, comments: “Our annual Challenge South Africa trip is a brilliant opportunity for all the students – it gives them the drive to raise funds and help out here in their local community, and really raises their aspirations and career goals by taking part in such an eye-opening volunteering and cultural experience in South Africa.

“We’d like to thank all the businesses, partners, families and staff at the college who have all contributed sponsorship funds or made donations for food parcels. It’s a real team effort from everyone here in the city and we can’t wait to get out to South Africa and make a difference in the community out there.”

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