Braes High pupils planning African adventure

The team of girls who will make a difference in Swaziland. Picture: Alan Murray
The team of girls who will make a difference in Swaziland. Picture: Alan Murray

A group of young girls are preparing themselves for the adventure of a lifetime, helping third world children get a better education.

The dedicated dozen of S3 and S4 pupils from Braes High School are heading to Swaziland, which borders South Africa, in June 2016 as part of a World Challenge expedition.

The girls – Courtney Daly, Emma Eaton, Jodie Ferguson, Helena Glass, Marcia Hair, Stephanie McConnell, Anna McEwan, Kate McNee, Abbie Meldrum, Amy Roddan, Alicia Warner and Caitlin Whyte – are in the midst of planning their itinery and training expeditions to develop the considerable skills they will need for the trip.

The main aim of the project is to help build a school in a remote community in Swaziland, working with local youngsters and other members of the World Challenge team.

They also have to raise money and get themselves in shape for the rigorous adventure that will test their endurance and challenge their views of the world whilst experiencing new and alien cultures.

They’ll have to dig in and use resources they never thought they had, but they are all up for the life-changing challenge.

S3 pupil Alicia Warner (14), from Shieldhill, said: “We’ll be learning and doing so much, from eating new foods and learning things like the laws in different countries.

“We sometimes don’t really appreciate how well off we are in this country. For most people foreign travel is going to the beach, but a trip like this will put things into perspective for our lives, and we can help change other people’s lives too.”

Marcia Hair (14), also in S3, said: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to challenge myself, something I can look back as an amazing experience.

“Hopefully it will help me inspire others and I can learn about cultures halfway around the world.”

As part of the challenge the girls must raise £3500 each to meet costs and will be doing this by hosting coffee mornings, baking sales, race nights and bag packing.

The pupils will be joined on their expedition by teachers Louise Robinson, who visited Cambodia with other pupils last year, and Julie Wilkinson.

World Challenge is the largest school expedition company in the world and has organised trips for pupils since 1987.

It sends over 9000 students on expeditions every year.

Ms Robinson said: “As a school we are very excited about the opportunity this will give students to do something really unique and something that will make them stand out from the crowd.

“The expedition experience will provide them with a wealth of new skills which they will find invaluable in school, at university and in the world of work.

“Over the next 18 months the pupils will develop enormously. They will find strengths and skills they didn’t know they had and they will make a lasting difference in the community they will be visiting.”