This summer showed exactly how KIND people can be and how putting someone else before yourself can truly make a difference. In a world where negativity seems to be at the forefront, we couldn’t be prouder to show how amazing people really are, especially the incredible volunteers who travelled with us this summer.
This was YTA’s busiest summer yet and we are so excited to see the projects we support go from strength to strength every year.
To kick the summer off we welcomed a group of students from the University of Winchester, Reading University and Cardiff University who were led by our leaders Gus and Megan.
With most of this group being teachers in training, it was a jam-packed trip of skill sharing, creative lessons and huge learning experience for all to see how education works in a totally different environment.
Alongside sharing their skills with the teachers and running amazing activities this group also:
- Provided fruit for all three of our schools
- Painted the fences and stair rails at Melon Mission
- Collected an incredible amount of donations which were distributed to all three schools
- Were the first ever group to meet our new project Little Kings where they really helped to break the ice and spend quality time with the children in preparation for more volunteers to follow!!
As our awesome group of university students departed and headed back to the UK, we welcomed the arrival of Brockenhurst College. It was with thanks to Adrian a staff member from the college, that this visit took place. Adrian have previously worked in Kenya with Melon Mission and was keen to bring a group of students over to share in the experience. We know that the run up to their trip was full on with Enrichment Sessions to help the students prepare, along with lots of fundraising and donation collecting. Before the group had even touched down in Kenya, they had already made a big difference!
Some of this group’s highlights were as follows:
- Lots of well-planned lessons and sports activities with the children
- Twelve laptops donated on behalf of the college and a brand-new classroom for IT lessons commissioned
- A suggestion box made and put up at Melon Mission for staff and students to share their thoughts on how things can be improved around the school
- A vast amount of maintenance carried out for Little Kings including painting walls, funding and building a fence for the perimeter of the school to help with security, installing plastic panels to create a bit of light in the classrooms and rendering the walls outside.
- Distribution of a huge amount of donations across Melon Mission and Little Kings
Following the departure of Brockenhurst we welcomed back the lovely Lucy Wolford who is training to be a teacher at the University of Winchester. This was her second visit to Kenya with YTA. Lucy spent a week as a solo volunteer and spent time with James, Becky and their daughter Joyness. Lucy was able to experience a homestay trip and spend time at the schools where she really focused on running well planned and interactive lessons with the children. We really appreciate that Lucy joined us and was more than happy to do a week on her own.
It wasn’t long though before she was met by our next group of intrepid travellers lead by the legends that are Carla and Robyn who have joined us in Kenya for the last four years 😊 This group was made up of students, teachers and professionals who were able to offer a diverse set of skills which always makes for a great trip. We had no doubt that this group would have a very busy two weeks and they did not disappoint! Here are some of their trip highlights:
- Three geese and two turkeys were bought for Melon Mission and the group also built them their very own home!
- Amazing eye-catching murals on the walls were painted to create a more child friendly room.
- An outdoor play area with tyres and a reading circle were created
- A music wall for Melon and Silver bells was made
- A range of lessons were taught from Martial arts, First Aid to a lesson on Picasso!!
- And as always lots of donations were provided across all schools including 1000 pencils!
Our final trip of the summer holidays was our first ever Scout Only trip. Following nearly eighteen months of fundraising and preparation, thirty-seven scouts (and Fiona a wannabe scout!), embarked on a trip of a lifetime. We had a rough idea on just how pro-active a group of scouts were likely to be; however, we were still blown away with their resilience, skills and their desire to make a real difference to all the children they met. We hope this is just the beginning of a long-lasting partnership with this incredible organisation.
Here are their trip highlights:
- The group provided funds to Melon Mission and Little Kings which will give the schools enough food for at least two months. This included fruit for all the children at Little Kings and food for five orphans to have at home. In addition to this, they dug out a vegetable patch for Little Kings which over time we hope will provide them with some food.
- The group painted the front of the Nursery School at Melon Mission and two classrooms at Little Kings.
- This scout group just casually whipped up a climbing frame, swing, basketball net and circle time area for Melon Mission.
- Several flowers and trees were planted around Melon Mission.
- Lots of creative activities were taught to the children and the group worked closely with the teachers, sharing and learning new skills. Two of the scouts even funded the staff at Melon to go out for a team dinner.
- The group donated a huge amount of sporting equipment which they also used throughout their trip. They held an amazing sports day for Silver bells and went head to head with Melon Mission at football, final score 2-2!
- With thirty-seven scouts in Kenya, we of course made sure they linked up with Melon Mission Scouts. Skills were shared throughout and an amazing partnership has been formed
- Approximately 920kg worth of donations were given to all three schools including clothes, shoes, toiletries, first aid, teaching resources, the list is endless.
Kenya isn’t all hard work and no play!!
You can’t go to Kenya and not experience the incredible wildlife and culture it has to offer. All our groups were lucky enough to experience a range of activities from visits to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Elephant and Giraffe Sanctuary to Safari at Lake Nakuru. Some groups were lucky enough to spot some lions, which are becoming increasingly hard to find in the park, and managed to spot the incredible white rhino. They also visited Thompson Falls a 74 metre (243 ft) scenic waterfall on the Ewaso Ng’iro river. To get to the waterfall the group cross over the equator which is a popular stop for our groups to get that famous photo! One of our groups this year, who due to flight times, missed the sanctuaries visits in Nairobi but instead experienced a boat ride on Lake Naivasha where they were able to spot hippos and see the wildlife on Crescent Island. It was safe to say they loved it!
We are overwhelmed with the impact that has been made over such a short time. All our volunteers this summer got stuck in and wanted to do everything they could to help.
A huge thank you to everyone who joined us on our trips, fundraised for the projects or sent donations over. Together we are all making a difference. Without stealing a famous phrase from a supermarket that cannot be named!! ‘Every little helps.’
What’s next for YTA in Kenya?
We have our first family trip coming up in a few months which we are very excited about. Following this, it’s all about 2020. We really hope that those who joined us this year will join us again at some point, but most importantly we hope you can spread the YTA way and help us recruit even more people to visit Kenya and our partner schools Melon Mission, Silverbells and Little Kings.
We currently have the following trips in the diary for 2020 and we are excited to be welcoming back some private groups as well.
If you are looking to join a trip, check out the dates below:
February Half Term – International Skill Share – Recommended for those who have experience in teaching, youth work, education
April Half Term Two Weeks – Open to all and this trip also includes an optional weekend visit to the Masai Mara!
June (Two Weeks) – We have a trip specifically set up for university students
July (Two Weeks) – This trip is open to all including under 18’s
From everyone at YTA and our partner schools.
Asante Sana. 🙂