Students at Saint John Houghton CVA make final preparations for trip of a lifetime in July 2019

Published on: Saturday, 8th June 2019

Students at Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy are making final preparations for the trip of a lifetime to Swaziland with World Challenge.

A total of 33 students and four members of staff will fly out for two weeks in July 2019 after they raised thousands of pounds to fund the trip.

Students held sponsored events, car boot sales, did odd jobs and organised cake sales in order to raise enough money to be able to go to Swaziland.

This is the second World Challenge trip run by Saint John Houghton CVA after the first trip to Nepal took place last year with 20 students.

This year’s trip follows a similar format with students taking part in a trek and working on a project in the local community but this year they will be split into two teams.

The community project will see students spending time at the Nsuka Neighbourhood Care Point, a care centre for children who have been orphaned as a result of HIV/Aids, where they will assist with general maintenance, painting and will also be teaching.

The expedition will see teams trekking through the Malolotja Nature Reserve, which is one of the most impressive trekking destinations in Southern Africa, for five days and covering roughly 25km. The end of the trip will see some rest and relaxation with the group going on safari, taking part in a canopy tour and tackling one of the largest ziplines in the world.

Students will also take full control of the trip and will be in charge of budgeting and cooking for themselves as most of the two weeks will be spent camping.

Student Clara Barlow, 15, said she was looking forward to the trip.  She said: “I think it will be good to open my eyes to other places in the world as I do like travelling. I’m looking forward to the community project and I think when I’m older it will be great to say that when I was 15 I went to Africa.”

Lewis Bilby, 15, said it was great to be so close to going after months of planning and fundraising.  He said: “We had a training weekend and we learnt how to bush cook. I was the leader for that weekend and I think going forward we will assign roles depending on people’s strengths. We have practised for the trek so we are not too worried about it. I just think the whole trip is going to be a great experience and it’s not something we’ll get to do again.”

Brent Poland is one of the teachers leading the trip.  He said: “Being able to watch children who I see usually in a classroom, challenge themselves both physical and mentally is amazing. I was fortunate as a student to have been on a ‘World Challenge’ and it is a privilege to be able to give my students a similar life-changing experience."

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