PUPILS who made a mammoth trek to help students in Africa have been rewarded for their efforts.
Twenty three young people from Farringdon Community Academy made the journey to Gambia to help revamp schools and deliver aid.
The group, who were the first school pupils to make the trip as part of The Youth Box Project’s Project Gambia, spent 14 days in the country in December.
They refurbished three classrooms at the Gunjur Upper Basic School, painted murals in a primary school, and delivered 15 tonnes of items, including 18,000 bags of clothes, and stationery, to schools and orphans.
The work is part of a year-long award scheme called The Platinum Youth Achievement Award, which is awarded through UK Youth.
It finished on Wednesday when the pupils gave a presentation about the trip to teachers, family, local councillors, and businesses who support the work.
Development worker for Project Gambia, Denise Barna, said the presentation was the culmination of a year of hard work.
She said: “It is a chance for everyone who has had some involvement to see what they have achieved.
“They have worked extremely hard. There aren’t many people who get The Platinum Youth Achievement Award.
“We got 13 through before, and that was more than the whole of the North East of England. I think to get 23 through it is a great achievement.
“It’s taken a whole year, and each of the young people had to raise the money to go and do the work involved, so this is kind of the end of a year of hard slog.”
She added: “I think they found it extremely hard work, and were absolutely wowed by it.
“It’s an experience of a lifetime and does make them think about their values and what they have here.”
A new group of students is already working towards their Platinum Award, and will make the second school trip to Africa this year.
Denise added: “The work they do makes an absolutely huge difference because the organisations out there don’t have any funding at all.
“They don’t have any books so it means when we send things out there it means children can get the best out of their education.”