A LIFE-changing visit by Sheffield schoolchildren has given fresh hope to a deprived South African community and forged a lasting bond.
Youngsters from Chaucer Business and Enterprise College are back home in Parson Cross after an expedition that made a huge impact on all of them.
“It was amazing; the best two weeks of my life – something I will never forget,” said 15-year-old Regan Stancill.
“We quickly made good friends with the local children, who were really open with us. In many ways they have a better spirit than us – they have so little but make the most of it. If they had what we have, they would treasure it but we take too much for granted.”
During their visit, the 16 Chaucer students worked alongside the people of Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, to clear land, dig more than 15 beds and plant over 1,000 seedlings, creating a garden to feed the community.
“It was hard labour, too!” said deputy head Lindy Stone. “The ground was hard baked and very stony and needed to be dug and cleared by hand. It was also exceptionally hot – around 30C most of the time – but our young people battled through it, much to the delight of the local people.”
Highlights included the handing over of footballs and sports kit donated by Sheffield families and Sheffield FC’s Boots 4 Africa charity.
Chaucer students now plan to build the link with their friends in Port Elizabeth. They are making a film about their experiences to promote the Ubunye Project and are already working towards another expedition in 2013.