School children making memories © Emma Willcox

School children making memories © Emma Willcox

Bournemouth school children recently travelled with the CRED Foundation to Africa in two groups to help young Ugandan and Ethiopian children who are less fortunate than themselves.

The CRED Foundation is a UK charity set up in 1997 which aims to make a difference to the lives of hundreds of children around the globe through their ethos: ‘‘participation for transformation’’.

They organise trips which offer people from the UK the chance to go to countries in both Africa and Asia to work with a range of people in need. The Uganda team consisted of school children and teachers from both Oak Academy, which is a Bournemouth school, and The Littlehampton Academy, which is based in Portsmouth. A select few from the CRED Foundation also volunteered for the trip.

The team met at London Heathrow airport where their long journey began. The trip, spread over 10 days, had the volunteers working with street children as part of the project already set up by UK-based charity, Retrak.

Working with the children - mostly boys - involved facilitating fun and educational activities to provide them with a well-rounded level of education. This programme of learning, although basic, is crucial for their personal development and growth throughout their lives. This gave the children a safe place to go where they would be able to utilise safe and clean food, clothing and washing facilities. All volunteers on the Uganda team had to raise at least £1,300 to go on the visit to the country and help the young people there.

Hannah Willcox, a student at Oak Academy, who was part of the Uganda team said, “It was a fantastic trip that I will never forget. The things that my team witnessed and experienced changed our outlook on the world.

It is a very rewarding trip that creates amazing memories and I would completely recommend anyone to get involved.”

The team who journeyed to Ethiopia was made up of school children, teachers and volunteers. They gathered at the Oak Academy in Bournemouth to start their journey to the African country.

This trip, which took place over nine days, gave volunteers the chance to interact with young children in both a kindergarten and within a local youth club, whilst providing them with fun and creative activities along with educational lessons.

All volunteers on the Ethiopia team also had to raise at least £1,350 to go on the trip which demonstrated their commitment and dedication to the project.

William Hurst, a student at Oak Academy, who was part of the Ethiopia team said, “Ethiopia is a place that will stay in my heart forever. I look up to the children there; they’re so inspirational.”

Both trips left behind useful resources for the children such as educational books, toys, clothing and basic hygiene products; luxuries that many of us take for granted here in the UK. These vital resources provide the street kids in these poverty-hit places with the essential tools that they need in order to substantially improve their quality of life.

The trip gave the young volunteers a real insight into the lives of the Ugandan and Ethiopian children that they would not normally be able to have.

For more detailed information about the CRED Foundation’s charity work in Africa and the various trips that they have to offer, visit their website.