HELPING to transform the lives of poverty stricken villagers in Kenya has made a lasting impact on three Winsford teenagers.

The trio spent four weeks working tirelessly building a house for a family living in deplorable conditions as they completed a range of challenging community and conservation projects.

The 16-year-olds from Winsford Academy have been praised for their commitment and determination.

Winsford Guardian:

Molly Warburton, learning mentor Corrine Leech, Olivia Yardley and Bradley Williams setting off on their Kenyan expedition from Winsford Academy

Olivia Yardley, Molly Warburton and Brad Williams had to adapt to cold water bucket showers and searing heat and survive without the internet or mobile phones.

Sleeping in tents, hand washing their clothes and using primitive outdoor toilets were some of the other challenges they faced.

Learning mentor Corrine Leech, who organised the expedition, said: "They threw their hearts and souls into a number of projects, pushing their comfort zones to the limits and facing and solving problems completely alien to their lives.

Winsford Guardian:

Students learnt how to make bricks to build walls for a school kitchen from mixing sand, cement and water

"Nothing prepares them for the level of poverty these people are living in. Seeing children their age walking round with ripped clothes and no shoes is very eye opening."

Each student had to raise £4,000 to fund the Camps International project. Fundraising is almost completed for next year's trip to Cambodia and plans for pupils to volunteer in Kenya in 2021 are being launched this week.

"We spend two years fundraising for each trip," said Corrine, who has led six expeditions. "A lot of the community are aware of what we do as we organise a lot of bag packing and events.

Winsford Guardian:

Learning mentor Corrine Leech doing cattle de-worming

"It is a brilliant life changing opportunity for students."

The trio teamed up with students from across the UK and worked in five different camps, each with its own diverse landscape, across Kenya.

Winsford Guardian:

Brad Williams dancing with the Masai

They learnt how to make traditional bricks for the kitchen foundations of a school and dug drainage channels to keep watering holes replenished for animals in the national park.

Winsford Guardian:

Olivia Yardley paints the outside of a classroom as part of a school renovation project

Students worked on classroom renovation projects and cleaned beaches and sorted marine rubbish whilst learning about conservation.

Corrine said: "They experienced making elephant dung paper, visiting and dancing with the local Masai tribe, learning how to make fire using sticks, how to use a bow and arrow and weave roofs.

Winsford Guardian:

Students met the local Masai tribe

"They went on safari to see the amazing wildlife."

The teenagers met a traditional Bush doctor and learnt about his natural herbal medicines.

Winsford Guardian:

Brad Williams learning how to make a fire with the Masai

"The expedition aimed to challenge the students, not only in the way they see the world around them but also their perception of themselves, encouraging them to engage in different cultures, food and experiences," said Corrine.

Winsford Guardian:

Volunteers planting indigenous trees in the sacred Kaya Forest

"They absolutely loved it. All of them had a go at speaking Swahili. They were brilliant and tried all of the food..

The team brought a massive suitcase full of gifts including footballs, beads, seeds and sanitary wear to give to the African children.

Winsford Guardian:

Kenyan children were thrilled to receive footballs. The ball they were using was made from tolled and tied plastic

"It is very humbling," said Corrine. "The staff and kids are so thankful you feel as if you have given them a million pounds!Two little girls nudged each other as I put the pads on the table. They were so excited about receiving sanitary towels, things we take for granted. They miss a lot of education because children are on their periods and don't have any protection."

Winsford Guardian:

Students digging for a water hole project

Watching the teenagers learn and develop as individuals, she said, was very rewarding.

"It is such a privilege for me to see how the children grow and develop in so many ways over that month," added Corrine. "They all learn how to communicate without mobile phones. They have proper conversations and play card games.

"They fully immerse themselves in the local cultures.

Winsford Guardian:

Molly Warburton working on building renovations in the national park

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"They return with a renewed and heightened sense of the opportunities available to them, thankful for their homes that have hot and cold running water, their schools with all the modern technology and facilities and their families who have supported them.

"Meeting lots of different children from various backgrounds from the UK makes life long memories."