A school trip with a difference!

A visit to the day care centre

A visit to the day care centre

Year 11 students from Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester, enjoyed the school trip of a life time when they visited a children’s charity in Thailand.

As part of their Citizenship classes, 20 pupils, and four teachers, joined the UK-based Thai Children’s Trust in Pattaya, Thailand, where they visited a children’s day care centre and a school for the blind.

Far from being a relaxing holiday, the students were busy helping painting the school, assisting with numeracy and literacy classes, taking part in dance and cookery lessons and conducting PE lessons for the children.

The students had to raise money to cover the cost of their trip and to support the valuable work being done for the many disadvantaged children in Pattaya. The students tried their hands at everything, from washing cars to packing shopping bags and even collecting old mobile phones.

The group was helped on their way by a fantastic £2,000 donation from the Wythenshawe-based Willow Park Housing Trust whose assistance meant that the pupils could take books, stationery and first aid equipment with them, as well as cameras to allow them to record their time in Thailand.

Ursula Gallagher, Head of Humanities at Saint Paul’s, said:  “At Saint Paul’s we believe it is important for our pupils to care about the wider community and I am delighted to see our students’ enthusiasm for helping underprivileged children. There were friendships formed between our pupils and the Thai children as soon as we arrived.

“We have all found this to be an extremely rewarding and valuable cause and a great help to the students’ studies. It was a unique opportunity for them to see inequality and hardship at first hand. Many of our students have already vowed to return when they are 18 to volunteer at the school. We are already planning a trip for next year!”

Pupil Shauni Higgins, aged 15, said: “I found it really emotional seeing the children so happy and lively after everything that’s happened in their lives. It’s made me amazingly grateful for the things I have.”
Natalie Bottomly, aged 16, said: “This trip has taught me so much. I moan about things but the children here have something to moan about but yet they are the happiest kids I’ve ever met!”

Andrew Scadding, Director of Thai Children’s Trust says: “School trips like this one from Saint Paul’s make a huge difference to us and the children we care for. It’s great to see a group of young people so enthused and dedicated about serving a disadvantaged community. Their fundraising efforts were excellent and we are particularly grateful to the Willow Park Housing Trust for helping to make the trip more rewarding for all.

“We commend Saint Paul’s for making service like this a part of the curriculum; we hope that more schools will follow their lead.”

Any schools or groups wishing to get involved should contact Thai Children’s Trust at schools@thaichildrenstrust.org.uk

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