A GROUP of students from Portsmouth have travelled thousands of miles to help children in Cambodia.
The pupils from Mayville High School in Southsea took part in various fundraising projects to enable them to take part in their Cambodian adventure.
Based at a Camps International site in Beng Meaela, the pupils helped improve facilities at a local school by rebuilding tables and chairs, replastering walls and building a whole kitchen unit.
They carried out the tasks with just two hours of electricity a day and no running water.
Students even took a trip into the remote countryside, where an 80-year-old grandmother was living with her two grandchildren, in a dilapidated house which the students then rebuilt.
Pupil Danielle Thompson, 16, said: ‘We spent a day rebuilding her house with bamboo and grass, making it waterproof, mending her table and area for her stove.
‘A lot of people cried when the grandmother returned.
‘I’m more grateful for everything following the trip and want to go back there for my gap year.’
Dr Katayoun Dowlatshahi, art teacher at the school who went on the trip, said: ‘Cambodia seemed like an amazing place to go to – such a cultural place.
‘It was about learning something about themselves.
‘The projects are set up for the students to develop their own personal skills but at the same time making a contribution to the community.
‘They were rebuilding a kitchen which was in a terrible condition.
‘The teachers do all the cooking for the kids.’
The group of eight pupils, who worked alongside students from two other schools in England, spent four weeks in Cambodia in total.
Dr Dowlatshahi, added: ‘I think it was life changing. More than anything they were touched by the friendliness there.
‘They realised people can still be happy and have nothing.
‘It puts their lives into perspective.’
Pupils covered a total of 53 kilometres in four days, as they went on to climb the Kulen Mountain in the Kulen National Park.
The last week of the journey saw the pupils visit the Killing Fields and Prison S21.
The final days were spent in the capital Phom Penh and Siem Reap.