Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Inspiring Volunteering - Transforming education

Since 2008 Joshua has been partnered with Inspire Worldwide, a social enterprise which links groups from the UK, Europe and USA with organisations like Joshua, giving them the opportunity to support and take part in hands-on, sustainable community development projects.

In 2012 a group from Leighton Park School (photos 1&2) started a project which will improve the quality of education at the not-for-profit Joshua Secondary School. They started work on our Assembly Hall.

Now I know an Assembly Hall doesn't sound like the most transformative of projects, but trust me it is.

The Joshua Secondary School is an exam centre, this means that every year from May to June classes are disrupted, with the majority having to be cancelled or moved to a local primary school. As a result, attendance and grades drop as we are unable to provide the high quality of education our students deserve. This is particularly bad for the final year students, as the classes in the run up to their exams are disrupted.

An Assembly Hall will solve this problem, as it can be used for the exams, rather than the classrooms and there will be no disruption to normal lessons. But building an Assembly Hall is a large, costly project and without the support of these teams of volunteers through Inspire Worldwide, this project would never have got off the ground.

The first team from Leighton Park School (pictured above) started work on the Hall in October 2012,
they built the walls up from the foundations - back breaking work!
The second group in June 2013, from St Pauls and Wellington College (Pictured right being welcomed) built up the walls for the assembly hall and the latrine blocks on the site, hand mixing cement and learning to lay bricks, completing one long wall in one day!

And the third group in July 2013 which consisted of fifteen students and two staff from Tonbridge Grammar School completed the mammoth task of building the stage area of the Assembly Hall (pictured below right celebrating).

Thanks to a private donation work has continued on the site and although the hall will not be 100% completed when the exam season starts in May, it will be usable and classes will not be disrupted for the first time in the schools history.

The three Inspire groups worked tirelessly to make the dream of an Assembly Hall at Joshua Secondary School a reality, raising over £13,000 between them. We would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their incredible support and investment in this project, which will improve the education of thousands of vulnerable children for generations to come.

One of the girls from Tonbridge Grammar School made a fantastic video of their time in Malawi which you can view by clicking on the play button in the image above.

If you would like to volunteer with Joshua in Malawi through Inspire Worldwide please contact Beth Chapman, or visit their website for more details.