Westonbirt students strive for service beyond self during a mountain adventure
On 30th March, a group of intrepid Year 12 students set off for Nepal to trek the Annapurna Circuit and volunteer at the Ginette Harrison School which is based in remote Rabi-Opi. The Annapurna Circuit is a long-distance trekking route that circles the tenth highest mountain in the world and, depending on the route taken, spans 160km-230km.
This opportunity is one of the many Global Programmes offered by Westonbirt each year, designed to inspire students beyond the classroom and offer a valuable opportunity for service beyond self. During the unique adventure, pupils learnt to make traditional Nepalese food, built snowmen in the mountains, encountered monkeys and buffalos and improved the outside of the school, painting it for the local community.
Duke of Edinburgh Lead and Art Teacher, Amy Cooke, led the expedition and said of the experience;
“Throughout the 20-day trip, students and staff made memories that will last a lifetime. Pupils immersed themselves in the rich cultural experiences that Nepal has to offer and showed great resilience trekking to Annapurna Base Camp. Volunteering their time at the Ginette Harrison School, teaching English and decorating, offered a unique experience for students and ignited passions in many to return to Nepal in the future.”
Year 12 student, Rose Heaney, said;
“We saw many incredible views in the mountains and it was wonderful to see so much wildlife too. The community project allowed us to observe how Nepalese children learn and to experience a little of their day-to-day lifestyle. Many of the pupils at the school had so little but they made so much of what they had. The guides, teachers and everyone on the trip made it a thoroughly enjoyable experience.”
Rose’s sister, Niamh continued;
“The trip gave us many life skills but most importantly, it also gave us all more confidence. The tour guides showed us the best of the Himalayas and working with the local school children was a real eye-opener, it was lots of fun playing games with them in the evenings and we felt truly privileged to be welcomed into their country and their community. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I could not be happier to have taken part.”