Building the future in South Africa

Kieren Hewitt, Geroge Snowball and Francesca Fordham

North Kent College has welcomed home a lucky group of students from their week-long, life-changing trip to South Africa just before Christmas.

Mark Lindop sponsored three students to participate in an incredible experience with Mellon Educate on “Build Blitz”. Every year, Mellon Educate organises their now renowned “Building Blitz” trip to Africa for volunteers from all over the world to travel and lend a helping hand building better infrastructure in poor African communities.

After supporting North Kent College students last year, Mark was keen to replicate this financial support for another three students in 2019. He said: “You’ll never be on such a happy and productive building site that truly helps those who need it the most until you have been with Mellon Educate to Cape Town. A massive well done to those who are now my friends, that came from NKC.”

After entering an internal competition to demonstrate how their skills and passion to succeed could help change those less fortunate in South Africa, by providing a place of education for hundreds of children, the winners Kieran Hewitt (Site Carpenter and Joiner Level 3 Apprentice). Francesca Fordham (Painting and Decorating Level 2 Apprentice) and George Snowball (Site Carpenter and Joiner Level 2 Apprentice) flew out to Cape Town. They were joined by Assistant Curriculum Manager for Construction, Karen Wyatt.

They undertook projects in Mfuleni Primary and Manzomthimbo Secondary School in Cape Town. 300 volunteers helped build 11 new classrooms, 1 playground, 3 covered shelters, 1library, 2 ablution blocks, 1 outdoor gym and improving sports facilities impacting the quality of education for over 2900 children.

Kieran commented, “My week with Mellon Educate was full of all different emotions, everyone put blood, sweat and tears into building a life changing school which will help thousands. The Mellon Educate family is the nicest and kindest group of people I have ever met. Thank you to everyone involved!"

Karen Wyatt, Assistant Curriculum Manager for Construction, said, “For the past 2 years the Construction department have been very fortunate to have been sponsored by Mark Lindop and his generosity to support our learners going out to assist with these builds. I have been behind the scenes organising and making sure everything is ready for our learners to go. It was an amazing experience and an honour to work alongside Mark and our apprentices from carpentry and painting The sponsorship the College has been offered allows our
learners to participate in a venture they would probably never dream of doing at this age."