High School youngsters’ African adventure

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A GROUP of 11 pupils from Carnoustie High School have returned from a trip to Rwanda where they helped out those who are less fortunate.

It is the third time religious education teacher Jim Bell has visited the African country with the school, who are involved in the Level8 programme which funds projects across Rwanda.

The pupils visited many of the Level8 projects including the Comfort Village, the vocational college and the street kids day centre as well experiencing a moving visit to the National Memorial Centre which details the events of the 1994 genocide in the country.

Before setting off from Carnoustie, each of the youngsters raised £1,300 to invest in a project in Rwanda.

And the cash was spent on equipment such as desks, stationary and food for the street kids centre and bikes for the bakery in the Comfort Village.

Mr Bell praised the work of the Carnoustie teenagers while in Rwanda and says the people there have a better quality of life thanks to their effort.

He explained: “Many widows and orphans have been helped out of their poverty through the efforts of people in Scotland, not least of all the young people at Carnoustie High School.

“The compassion and generosity of the team was humbling to all involved. And it was wonderful to see the young people from Scotland and Rwanda mixing freely with one another, dancing, laughing, singing and celebrating the joy of being part of the human family.

“Our programme was varied and intense but the feedback from the young people rated it as an unqualified success.

“They were wonderful ambassadors for Scotland.”

Two of the pupils who enjoyed the trip to Rwanda were fifth years Kerry Mitchell and Alix Foreman.

And both say the experience is something they will never forget.

Alix explained: “The best moments were the welcomes we received, every place we went was different.

“At the Butare Centre for street kids, the boys greeted us with African drumming, at the Rundo Isonga Secondary School pupils greeted us with an amazing song and dance, and at Granny Callison’s bakery the widows all sang in high spirits of our arrival.

“Music was everywhere. This was such an experience because music is a big part of my life.”

Kerry added: “Visiting the Street Kids day centre really meant a lot to me and filled me with happiness because we were giving the children there a day of happiness, some new gifts and hope.

“Also we connected really well with them without being forced to. It didn’t matter that we didn’t speak the same language, we communicated through dance, football and photography!”