Brimsham Green School students cannot wait to embrace Ugandan culture on life-changing trip

Brimsham Green School students with teachers Julie Revans and Jo Hewitt

Brimsham Green School students with teachers Julie Revans and Jo Hewitt

First published in News Gazette Series: Photograph of the Author by , reporter covering Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell, Rangeworthy, Wickwar, Hawkesbury, Iron Acton, Coalpit Heath and Old Sodbury

AFTER taking the toughest exams of their young lives, most students would opt to spend the summer relaxing, partying and holidaying somewhere hot. Not so for a group of teenagers from Brimsham Green School in Yate, who are heading back to school shortly after sitting their A-levels to help impoverished Ugandan children.

The nine 17 to 19-year-olds will spend two weeks in Kampala, where Brimsham has firm links with Hosanna Primary School, situated in the capital’s biggest slum.

The students, who have already raised £16,000 to fund their trip, will teach classes of up to 70 three to 15-year-olds specific topics ranging from how the skull works to the difference between Christians and Muslims.

They will teach in groups of two or three and assist children’s reading, organise a school sports day and visit some children in their own homes.

Teacher Jo Hewitt, who is leading the third trip of Brimsham students to the African country, said: “Some of the feedback from the last trip was that our students didn’t have any teaching practise so this time we have a teacher from Blackhorse Primary School, in Mangotsfield, coming in to do some lesson preparation and the students will then go and practise some lessons before we go.

“Brimsham is very much a reading school so we will be pushing the idea of a reading community. Children at Hosanna have no access to books so we will be taking over some big reading books and are asking the students to find engaging ways to read the stories.”

The group is preparing its own dance routine to welcome children to class each morning.

Matt Bircher, 17, said he was looking forward to experiencing a completely different way of life.

“It will be interesting to see how they live,” he said. “It is a completely different culture but the thing I am most nervous about is the teaching.”

Jordan Galwell, also 17, said: “I am hoping to get a new life experience. There are not many teenagers who get the chance to go to Uganda.”

Amelia Kethro, 18, said the seven girls in the group couldn’t wait to leave their make up and hair straighteners at home.

“We are ready to not have to do any of that getting ready,” she said. “We’re all looking forward to just getting up and going.”

The last trip to Uganda saw students raise £6,000 more than they needed, which they gave to Hosanna school, but this year if the group raise extra money they will take the older primary school children away on safari.

Brimsham teacher Julie Revans, who is also going on the trip this July, said: “It will be a real undertaking for us. We will take around 40 11 to 14-year-olds on a once in a lifetime trip.

“Many of them have never left Kampala and have never seen their beautiful country so it is exciting.

“As well as going to help teach, we want to make a big impact on Hosanna.”

The trip will enforce links between Yate and Chipping Sodbury’s link with Hosanna school, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2013.

The Brimsham students have already held events including an autumn ball, discos, cake decorating workshops and skittles matches with more planned up until Easter. To help fund their trip or sponsor a pupil at Hosanna school email jhewitt@brimsham.com

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