Richard Huish College student, Megan Rees, went the extra mile (or 4,000 miles+) for her Duke of Edinburgh’s Award residential, travelling to Kenya to support the charity ‘Educate the Kids’.

The charity offers educational opportunities to children from poverty-stricken areas in Africa, hoping education will help eradicate poverty.

Their orphanage and two schools equipped with water, electricity and computers, support children who previously may have been limited to reading by candlelight, to go to school and sit government-set exams. Some pupils have even been sponsored through College and University.

Megan, who studies Biology, Chemistry and Maths at Huish, organised the two-week volunteering opportunity for herself and a friend from her former school. She discovered the charity through family friends and after volunteering in the UK for them, and sponsoring children with her family, wanted to go to Africa and experience first-hand life in the village.

In preparation for her trip, she collected clothing donations from fellow Huish students to gift to the children in Africa who are provided with uniforms but otherwise have very few possessions. Huish was also able to donate a large surplus stock of colourful t-shirts.

The success of her collection meant that upon arrival she was able to provide every primary school student, and their teachers, with a new t-shirt. The staff of the school helped identify families with the greatest need and shared out the remaining clothing, whilst a supply of filled pencil cases went to those without equipment.

Educate The Kids Megan And Staff Member In Class With Pupils
Megan with three children in uniform holding new pencil cases

During her residential, Megan got the opportunity to assist in both the Kindergarten and Primary School, which within the African school system include children aged 4-16 years.

In Kindergarten, Megan and her friend supported the children in learning two-syllable English words and adding letters to extend their vocabulary. She shared “It was really good; I can’t remember ever being taught at that age, so it was quite interesting, and their teachers’ English is so good”.

The pair of friends then read aloud to the whole school to help pupils understand the words they had just learnt. “One of us would be reading the book and holding it up and the other one would be doing actions, which was quite fun” commented Megan.

Alongside getting an education, sponsorship money means each child receives porridge, rice and beans at school, often their only meals for the day. As part of their volunteer duties, the friends helped the younger pupils retrieve their meals.

Megan explains “Each child can only go to school if they have a sponsor, so at the start of a new year, the school can only take the number of children that there are sponsors for. Sponsorship is £11 per month and provides a child with a uniform, porridge at break, rice and beans at lunch, and basic equipment if there is money left over”.

Megan and her friend reading to large group of pupils outside
Children eating rice and beans at lunch

Megan had an opportunity to head inland and visit the children’s village which is about a 20-minute walk from the Kindergarten and a further 20 from the Primary School.

In the Primary School (which is more equivalent to a UK Secondary School) the pair supported pupils with their Mathematics and English, this time helping them with their grammar as they wrote paragraphs about their families. Each class held around 40-50 students.

Reflecting on her experience Megan shared “it’s quite humbling, they all work so hard, even the little ones, they are just so thankful, and even though they are in from 7am until 5pm, some of them stay after that as well, and if you ask all the little ones what they want to be when they are older they say I want to be a pilot, or a footballer, or a doctor.”

Alongside ambitions to be a vet, and completing her Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Megan dances competitively five times a week and is a keen horse rider.

She commented, “It was a great experience, I want to go again if I can, but I want to be a vet. I have already applied and had a couple of interviews, so hopefully in September, provided I am offered a place I will be doing 5 years of that, but I’d love to go again one day”.

To find out more about the charity or to sponsor a child please visit https://www.educatethekids.com/product/support-a-child-11/.

Educate The Kids Megan And Her Friend With School Pupils
Children playing by a mudhut
5 teachers in bright yellow Huish t shirts
Pupils smiling in class