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ACS Egham returns from annual African expedition

Published Monday 21st of January 2013 12:31:38 PM

Over thirty students and teachers from ACS Egham International School recently returned from an inspirational ten day expedition to a primary school in Kenya. Thirty students, aged 15 to 17, travelled to Bingwa Primary School outside Nanyuki, Kenya for the fourth year in a row, for the penultimate year of ACS Egham's five year partnership with the Kenyan school.

The expedition was split into two ACS Egham teams, each spending four days at the school helping with the construction of the new Administration block and teaching in classes.

Bill Roach, Head of PE at ACS Egham and co-organiser of the Kenya expedition explained why:

'We really wanted to maximise the amount of time spent at Bingwa and make the most of the opportunity to help out with renovations and improvements to the school buildings. Splitting the teams worked really well, and we had great feedback from Bingwa school saying they enjoyed having even more 'face time' with our students.'

After helping construct and renovate classrooms on previous expeditions, students turned their construction efforts towards Bingwa school's administrative buildings. Working with a local building firm, students demolished the old administrative building and strengthened the existing foundations, before three more classrooms were built.The classroom construction was expected to continue for another four weeks after ACS Egham students returned home.

Once the new classrooms are completed, replacement toilets will be built to address poor sanitation problems. Students at the Bingwa have a limited supply of learning resources and the ACS Egham group was able to deliver bags of clothing, shoes and sports equipment as a result of the school community's fund-raising efforts.

Lyndall Tonkies, PE teacher and co-organiser of the Kenya expedition commented:
'The excitement of the Bingwa students, when they receive text books and equipment from ACS Egham group, is totally infectious and it's really great to see resources being continually treasured.'

As part of the expedition students camped overnight in the Bingwa classrooms and worked in teams to source food to cook meals over an open fire and students felt a great sense of achievement following their hike around Mount Longenot.

Over the next 12 months, ACS Egham hopes to finish work on the Administration Block as well as build a library for the school and provide reading materials for Bingwa pupils. As the partnership enters its final year, both school communities will be celebrating the project's achievements.

In the long term, ACS Egham will continue the partnership with Bingwa through letters, visits and ongoing financial support, but it is also hoped that the school's Kenya project will also be able to assist another local school in the Nanyuki area, Temu Primary, which is in a very similar state to Bingwa was five years ago with rotting classrooms and poor cooking facilities.

Bill Roach continued:

'Every year we are blown away by the spirit of generosity and ambition of the Bingwa community who really put into perspective how much we can take for granted in our day to day lives. Having a good education will help Bingwa students to widen their prospects when they leave school and their tenacious attitude towards making the most of every opportunity to learn is incredibly inspiring.

'After working hard to fundraise for Bingwa throughout the year, it was great to see the students put the funds into action, getting stuck in with construction work, as well as strengthen the bonds between our two schools by helping in lessons and organising fun activities. It was an unforgettable experience and we can't wait to return to Bingwa again.'

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