Darwen youngsters get ‘life-changing experience’
STUDENTS at a Darwen school helped impoverished children in a poverty-stricken African community.
Nine students from Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA) spent 10 days in Uganda with charity RETRAK.
The charity helps street children in Kampala who have been displaced from other communities through persecution, or who have lost parents and family to AIDS or HIV.
The students were selected for the ‘AfriDACA’ project through a procedure involving interviews and presentations.
The nine sixth-form students were Amber Riley, Rhys Frayne, Holly Ballantyne, Hayley Dickinson, John Meadowcroft, Matt Phillipson, Liam Dargan, Nicole Bond and Courtney Sanderson.
Each contributed £400 from their own funds and helped raised the £16,000 target to finance the trip, while £2,000 was donated by the Africa Relief Trust.
Fundraising activities ranged from bag packing in local supermarkets and book and cup cake sales to sportsman’s dinners and sponsored car washing. The students, delivering sports workshops on the streets, in adapted schools and in safe houses for the street children, helped with literacy and numeracy skills and assisted with the building of a vital medical centre by making the bricks.
School benefactor Sir Rod Aldridge said: “Students and staff at DACA have done a superb job in planning and raising money for this trip, which I’m sure will be a life-changing experience for them.”
A Retrak spokesman said: “As a relatively small charity, we are incredibly grateful for the time and effort the people from Darwen Academy put in.
“The street children we help have often been let down, neglected or abused, so it is wonderful to see them given the opportunity to interact with such positive, energetic young people, and to benefit from their teaching and games.
The AFRIDACA’s visit to our centre in Kampala has made a lasting difference.