Leigh Park students 'life changing' work helping children in Tanzania with Grassroots Trust

SPENDING time helping children in Tanzania proved to be ‘life-changing’ for a group of school pupils.

Tuesday, 16th July 2019, 12:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th July 2019, 12:57 pm
Park Community School students had a life-changing experience volunteering in Tanzania

A group of 20 teenagers and five teachers from Park Community School spent 11 days working with the Grassroots Trust in Mbeya trying to make a difference.

Run by the school every two years, the trip saw the students delivering chickens to the feeding programme, making water filters and painting buildings from June 26 until July 7.

Former pupil Yiannis Razzell, from Leigh Park, was invited back to take part after his first time volunteering in Tanzania with the school two years ago.

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A group of students and staff from Park Community School spent 11 days volunteering in Tanzania with the Grassroots Trust

The 17-year-old said: ‘It’s a life-changing experience. It makes you appreciate things more, even having running water and electricity.

‘At home, a child will have a temper tantrum if they don’t get their favourite toy. These children don’t know how to be spoilt and how to have a temper tantrum, they make toys out of rubbish.’

Sitting with the children for a few hours a day and seeing the smiles on their faces was one of the best things about the trip, the students said.

The group was surprised at how different the lifestyle was and the positive attitude people had, despite having few luxuries.

Yiannis added: ‘If I walk past someone in Havant, they will not even say hello. The hospitality of everyone in the country was amazing, even the homeless people were welcoming us and thanking us for being there.’

With people coming up and shaking their hands from day one, the teenagers soon got into the community spirit and joined in with the dancing at a wedding in the village one night as they walked back to their accommodation.

The final evening was spent reflecting as a group on their time in Tanzania, thinking about one thing which made them sad, one thing which made them happy and one thing they will take from the experience.

After enjoying their time volunteering so much, many of the team members want to go back next time and help out again.

Yiannis said: ‘If you don’t do it, you will regret it for the rest of your life.’