Two of our students created a crowd fund and built a school in Zambia during the summer break. We are quite impressed and met up with them to learn more about it.
How come you decide to do this?
It was Calvin’s Mum who came up with the idea that we either do some research on AIDS and post a scientific paper at the end of the trip, or help out at this charity/orphanage that was discovered by family friends. In the end Calvin and I chose to go to the orphanage. Once we had made up our minds on where we were going, we began to prepare and thought about things that we could do to make our stay more significant than just simply being there. So we brainstormed on what we could bring with us. In the end we decided to create a crowd fund to which friends and family contributed, and we also collected school materials for the children. The idea of the school came later. When we arrived in Zambia we simply asked Jeannie (the owner and founder of the orphanage) what they needed most. When she told us “new classrooms” we made arrangements to begin the constructions as quickly as possible. We had to leave before the end. The roof has not yet been installed, but we are in contact with them and get regular updates about the progress that’s made.
What were the reactions in Zambia?
When we arrived, the first thing we noticed was how kind and generous everyone was over there. The children even sang us songs and cooked us a special dinner upon our arrival (and departure). Jeannie was especially grateful for our contribution to the establishment, and on the day of our departure we were greeted with letters and balloons thanking us for what we had done.
What would you like to say to other young people who want to do something similar?
Even though we got this idea from a family member, it is very easy to find a charity or school that you can volunteer at. If anyone feels like this would be too much work, there are some websites and organisations which do most of this work for you. Personally we took some inspiration from previous IB students who went to India to help out less fortunate children with learning tech and supplying them with new computers.