A team of Tonypandy students underwent an inspiring African adventure where they worked with children in schools and orphanages.
The ten-day visit to Tanzania has been described as “life-changing” by the group of seven friends who left their comfortable valley homes for a world they’d never experienced before.
Students from Tonypandy Community College were chosen to support the Sporting Marvels project in East Africa.
Sporting Marvels is a Christian organisation that works mainly through sports in schools throughout the Rhondda and has a whole host of opportunities, from its football and netball initiatives to team-building activities and confidence-building for young people.
Every two years they run the “All-Star Africa Trip” which allows young people the experience of running sports days for schools in Arusha, Tanzania and provides them with the opportunity to help children in orphanages.
Thomas Miles, Matthew Parsons, Matthew Smith, Jessica Evans, Lewis Thomas, Caitlin Clark and Lucy Jones left Heathrow for a quick stop off at Addis Ababa before a final flight to Kilimanjaro Airport just outside Arusha.
Over the coming days they worked with three orphanages and three primary schools where the welcome they had from the children was staggering.
All of them took additional baggage with them thanks to the support of Ethiopian Airlines and were able to supply them with gifts and sporting equipment which the college and their families provided them with.
During the visit they spent time in Paradiso Orphanage where they gave presented the orphans with two goats so that they could receive an ongoing supply of milk.
The founder of Paradiso Orphanage Christopher Kaayo said, “You have seen our need and you have decided to help us. These goats will be a blessing to all the children in the orphanage and we are so grateful.”
Head Teacher of Tonypandy Community College Helen O’Sullivan said, “We have long-since enjoyed links with different African communities and the recent trip organised by Sporting Marvels was a total success.
“The students were totally overwhelmed by the entire experience and without doubt the memories of the visit will remain with them for the rest of their lives.”