A team of 16 Hull Collegiate School (HCS) students have just returned from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Uganda. The trip is taken every two years as part of the school’s ongoing partnership with people and schools in the Kanungu district in the south west of the country.
During the two week trip, students went on safari where they saw zebras, monkeys, elephants, crocodiles, impalas and bush back antelopes. The trip, however, was much more than a sightseeing tour; it was an opportunity to visit the children and schools which are supported through HCS’s sponsorship and ground-breaking Safi Coffee project.
Launched in September 2017, the Safi Coffee initiative imports coffee beans from the Kanungu district and sells them in the UK. All the proceeds are sent directly back to Uganda to support schools in Kanungu.
The students visited Great Lakes High School, Kirima Parents Primary School and Nyakabungo Primary School where they spent time with the children. Through Safi Coffee and other fundraising initiatives, HCS has been able to pay for a number of items for these children including a new playground.
The students also met The Rev Hamlet Kabushenga Mbabazi who founded the schools and the Great Lakes University. He spoke to the students about his vision for education in the area and how HCS’s fundraising efforts are having a tangible difference on the lives of children in Uganda. The students were welcomed with open arms by the communities who performed the traditional Chica dance including the Pygmy tribes in Bwindi to whom they gave 50kg of beans. On the Sunday before they left, the students attended a church service led by Hamlet where they enjoyed much singing, dancing and celebration.
Before the students left, they had one last important business meeting at the Gorilla Summit Coffee Plantation which produces Safi Coffee beans.
HCS student Leonora said:
“I have loved the opportunity to come here and see the children we sponsor. The highlight for me was the playground at Nyakabungo primary school and how happy and excited the children were. I now realise that it's possible to live without a mobile phone! I really appreciate our roads and hot water now!”
HCS student Emily said:
“The church service was amazing! So vibrant and lively. A celebration of what they have. I love the simplicity of life here. It was nice to be away from social media and TV for a while. I would say to anyone who gets the chance to travel... DO IT!”
Sally Groves, who accompanied the students, said:
“Put simply, this trip has been an incredible experience for our students who have thrown themselves into every activity on offer. Their excitement at seeing some of the world’s most incredible animals at close range has been infectious and during our safaris the students just kept saying ‘wow’
“The highlight of the trip, however, has been to visit the communities supported by HCS and Safi Coffee. They have given us the warmest of welcomes and treated us like family. It has been wonderful for us to see how the money we are raising back in Hull is improving the life chances of children here. The students are already talking about other ways we can all support the community.
“All the students have really benefited from this trip which forms part of our commitment to deliver an Education with Character. As well as giving our students a fantastic experience, this trip has strengthened their sense of responsibility, enterprise and, above all, compassion for others.”