First published in ACCESS Summer 2015 e-zine
Supporting those less fortunate than ourselves is a value that’s actively encouraged at The British School in The Netherlands (BSN). Providing students with opportunities to challenge themselves, whilst helping others, is embedded in the school’s ethos.
Life changing visit
This summer, a team of Senior School students returned from a life-changing month in East Africa. The Ndege School in Kenya is situated in a small rural village in Njoro, north-west of Nairobi. The school has been supported by the BSN since 2010, and from 2012 onwards the relationship has been further strengthened with the visit of an annual working party visiting each summer. The group of thirteen Year 12 students spent the year raising money in order to fund the projects planned for the school during their visit.
This year the provision of drinking water was a priority. Adequate sanitation and clean fresh water can be in short supply at Ndege school, particularly during the dry season, so the decision was taken to invest part of the money raised from this year’s project into the construction of a 5000 litre water tank. In addition to this vital new resource, the BSN students laid the foundations for a new primary classroom -- an undertaking which has since been completed and is now being used by Year 1 students. The money raised also paid for a toilet block and a huge range of books and teaching resources for the Primary School Library -- constructed by BSN students who visited in 2013. Foundations and walls were also built for a Science Laboratory and recent donations from BSN families have paid for the roof to be completed.
The students returned from Kenya with a very different outlook on the world, having experienced first-hand the direct impact their fundraising and hard work can bring to a community and that, despite extreme poverty, happiness was evident. While reflecting on the success of Project Africa 2015, the words of Anne Frank come to mind as she said that “no one has ever become poor by giving.”
Providing opportunities such as this helps to ensure BSN students develop into well-rounded, reflective and positive individuals. Each year nearly all of the students in the Project Africa Team use the trip as a way to complete elements of their Gold ‘International Award’. Comprised of three levels -- Bronze, Silver and Gold -- this globally recognised award programme offers young people the opportunity to participate in a series of challenging activities to broaden their skills and horizons. Last year the BSN had more students engaged in the programme than any other school in the Netherlands.
The British School in The Netherlands is an independent British international school with three Junior School campuses in The Hague and a Senior School in Voorschoten. With around 2,000 students, the BSN is the largest provider of International education in the Netherlands for children aged 3 to 18.
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