Date: Wednesday 18 October 2017
A sixth former from Solihull has completed a month of voluntary teaching work in South Africa – with help from our Midlands team.
We gave Charlotte Lack (17), who goes to Arden Academy nearby our Middlefield Spring development in Knowle, a £500 donation towards for her life‑changing trip.
Charlotte and seven other Arden Academy students spent a month teaching at Schitsdrift Primary School in rural KwaZulu-Natal, in a trip organised by Knowle and Dorridge Lions.
“It was the most insightful and rewarding experience of my life and one I will treasure forever,” said Charlotte.
“It taught me independence, confidence, gratitude, leadership, teamwork and so much more – the list really is endless. I learnt a whole new way of life.”
The students had to raise more than £2,500 each to go on the trip, while studying for their A‑levels.
“This was a massive target,” said Charlotte. “Taylor Wimpey’s donation towards the trip made a huge difference – it was a very appreciated contribution.”
Anne Wallace, Sales and Marketing Director for Taylor Wimpey Midlands, says: “We were delighted to be able to help Charlotte do some great work in South Africa.
“As a local housebuilder, we are committed to supporting the communities in which we build our new homes.”
Charlotte said that the South African school that she and her friends worked in was severely understaffed, with one teacher per two year groups – until help arrived from Arden Academy. The Knowle students allowed the school to separate the different grades.
“Their school days are very mundane and repetitive,” explained Charlotte, “so we made the lessons fun and exciting. We also painted the classrooms of the school as they were very dirty and the paint was peeling off.”
She said the children were the highlight of her experience: “The children made the trip. For me in particular, I decided to try and work with the children with learning difficulties – these children were simply ignored in class.
“Teaching them to read and write was extremely challenging considering I have no training in teaching, let alone teaching children with such severe difficulties. However, it was so rewarding when they got something right, as it meant so much to them.
“Seeing how grateful the staff and children were for our help made everything so worthwhile. Also, the place was beautiful and unlike anywhere I’ve ever been before.”