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From Methwold High to Kenya

PUBLISHED: 15:52 08 October 2009 | UPDATED: 21:43 07 July 2010

PUPILS from five Norfolk schools left their home comforts behind when they travelled thousands of miles, and a world away, to visit youngsters in Africa.

PUPILS from five Norfolk schools left their home comforts behind when they travelled thousands of miles, and a world away, to visit youngsters in Africa.

The students, alongside a number of staff, took the opportunity to learn about leadership issues and visited various primary and secondary schools in Kenya.

The trip was the result of a long-standing exchange project and was inspired and organised by former head teacher of Flegg High School, Cherry Crowley.

A number of Norfolk schools, and headteachers, have taken the opportunity to travel to the African country, and in 2007 and 2008, two Kenyan pupils visited Methwold High School, in the west of the county.

Kirsty Johns, geography teacher at Methwold High, said: “The ten day visit to Kenya was a complete culture shock for us all.

“Things we take for granted in England are so valued there, from simple note books to pens. Despite having very little, we were all struck by high levels of aspiration amongst the Kenyan students to succeed and achieve.

“Our British students gained so much from this visit, which is sure to have a life-long impact on them.

“I am hoping this initial visit will lead to more exciting collaborative opportunities in the future.”

Five Norfolk schools took part in the exchange, Acle High, Cliff Park High, Flegg High, Great Yarmouth High School, as well as London schools Parliament Hill High and Burlington Danes High.

Students enjoyed a visit to one of the top-ranking Kenyan boarding schools, the Starehe Boys School, as well as a number of primary schools in the slums of Nairobi - where some of the English pupils taught classes of up to 60 students.

Methwold student, Shannah Wills said the trip put things into perspective for her. She added: “I was struck by how happy the Kenyan children were despite having virtually nothing. “Students are given just one bowl of beans for the day of which they only eat a quarter because the children save the rest to take home to their families. “It was an incredible experience. I am planning to take a Gap year after my A levels and return to Kenya to teach.”

Options are now being discussed by the schools to raise money for the Kenyans, and exchanges are being discussed between the London and rural Norfolk schools.


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