International Schools Partnership Programme
The schools program is an amazing opportunity for groups of students from high schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities to spend their holiday as a class experiencing all that Namibia has to offer. For some students this may be their first visit to Africa. We balance the work project at our local partner school with a trekking experience visiting natural wonders and seeing animal wildlife.
This challenging program has proven to be one of the best experiences in the lives of the students who wish to make a difference to others as well as themselves. The 2 week field expedition to Namibia is the focal point of the partnership, where students spend one week at our local partner school renovating facilities and the following week on a trek through the desert learning to navigate and about the desert's ecosystem.
Week One - Local School Renovation Project
EHRA has been involved in the development and improvement of local Namibian schools in the region where we monitor and track wild elephants. The rationale in the beginning (2003) was to help our neighbouring school, A.Gariseb Primary School in Anixab, which is about 15km from EHRA base Camp.· The school was in a terrible state of disrepair and we realised that with our experience, resource and a volunteer work force we could make a significant difference and have a lasting impact for the students of both schools!
The long term partnership was formalized in 2004 between the A.Gariseb Primary School and King Alfred's School from London and so far the King Alfred Students have repaired and repainted classrooms, dormitories, toilet blocks, showers and thanks to a donation of computers from Siemens in Switzerland and 6 computers from King Alfred's we were able to establish the schools first computer room!
In July 2010 King Afred's constructed a large vegetable garden and plant nursery that the school is using to grow their own vegetables.
A Library was also constructed at the school in 2008 through the schools program with the help of Felsted School from Essex, UK. Felsted students also built the shelter around the kindergarten, repaired the playground, replaced the old and dirty sand in the playground and painted more classrooms and the library.
Students are given a fundraising target and this covers the cost of materials and supplies needed and their travelling expenses. In general students have 12 months in which to raise the funds and many come up with inventive and fun ways to get the money rolling in!
Showers pre and post renovation!
Main Classroom block 2004 and Main classroom block renovated externally in 2007
A.Gariseb Primary School now looks FANTASTIC! The partnership scheme with EHRA and King Alfred's has had a huge impact on the school. Teachers and pupils are now very proud of their school.
Every year pupils bring clothing and shoes which are distributed to the children most in need at A.Gariseb Primary. EHRA has also donated new mattresses and blankets.
In 2010 work began at Frans Fredrick Primary School, with help once again from the Felsted School and a large group of students from St Andrew's College from Canada repaired and repainted 8 classrooms and painted murals. However, there is alot of work that needs to be done at the school and in the future all overseas schools will be completing projects at Frans Fredrick Primary. King Alfred's continued the partnership in 2011 through the rennovation of dormitories and the donation of 150 mattresses thanks Maersk in Walvis Bay. EHRA is working with The Ministry of Education in Namibia, who have also highlighted the school as a priority for development.
Broken windows at Frans Fredrick Primary School
Camping and Living Conditions
Africa is a beautiful place and environmentally EHRA believes that camping out under the stars in such remote areas is the experience of a lifetime that most people from towns and cities rarely get to enjoy! We start the first week with tents for the students but we find that by the end of the week students are sleeping outside on their bedrolls under the stars.· The best part of camping in the desert is there is niver a threat of rain! We are also in an area with little to no water so mosquitos are also rare. We have limited water for cooking and cleaning therefore showers are not available in the first week. Roughing it and pushing personal limits is what the first week is all about. Again, for many students this will also be the first time they are away from family, modern convieniences, their daily meal routines and proper bathrooms!
Our cooking and cleaning routine is on a rotation with all students expected to participate fully.· This also adds an additional level of accomplishment as students prepare and cook a full meal for their friends over the open fire! The focus being on living in a small community where team work and caring for eachother is the key!
Week two - Trekking and Navigation
In the second week the students will be trekking with our experienced guides over 70kms through the Ugab River and surrounding desert.· Every day we walk a greater distance to the prior day, building up strength for the final days solo trek.· The week will also be used to teach the students navigation skills, map reading and general rules of trekking.· We also introduce the group to the delicate eco systems that exist in the desert and the role the desert elephants play.
The walks will take the students through some of the most beautiful and wild territory of Damaraland and the Ugab River System including canyons, riverbeds, wetlands and open desert plains. Having completed the trekking week, the group will be fully prepared for their 24km (+-) solo trek. The students will be expected to prepare that days meals, pack up camp, pack their day packs, navigate and trek to the final nights camp as a team.· They must plan as a group: nominate a leader, medical , navigation and catering teams and of course walk the distance! The sense of accomplishment is the real reward and everyone thoroughly enjoys the amazing and exhausting adrenalin rush of the final day's trek.
Below: Students learning about compasses
The itineraries roots are firmly based on a ‘vision quest’ philosophy encompassing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory. The children firstly have to fundraise and then do renovation work, thereby opening their eyes to their wider community and it’s well being.
The expedition qualifies students for the Gold Duke of Edingburgh Award as well as being a fantastic experience for any student to participate in. Our staff and logisitcs team have run the program for 7 years and have a perfect safety record.
Every group that has completed our schools program departs Namibia with a sense of personal fulfillment and accomplishment that is rare and life changing.
If you would like to receive an information pack on the schools program or if you have any questions please contact Rachel here.