Students raise £75,000 for life-changing India trip

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A group of students from Kettering’s Latimer Arts College are jetting to India on Wednesday (July 12) to help people with a tange of community projects.

The 24 pupils, in Years 11 and 12, are embarking on a 21-day expedition which will include educational, cultural, agricultural and building activities.

The £75,000 trip has been paid for entirely by the group’s fundraising efforts, along with support from 1st Reaction Security Ltd.

The teenagers will be working in rural village locations, staying in hostels, and making their own decisions about everything from booking group accommodation, through to buying groceries and purchasing train tickets.

Sandy Mason, Latimer teacher and expedition coordinator, said: “We’ve been away for a trial weekend in Derbyshire to get a taste of what it will be like living and learning as groups, and the students have done a great job of making leadership decisions and getting along together.

“This will be a life-changing experience. We run similar trips to exotic locations every two years and it’s amazing to see how our students gain confidence with every new situation they encounter.”

Advance fundraising activities for the trip have included sponsored walks around Rutland Water and Pitsford Reservoir, 5K runs, ‘danceathons,’ race and quiz nights, bike rides, car washing, keep-fit classes, interior decorating, and even a special Indian night for student family and friends at the Kushboo restaurant in Kettering.

Discussing plans for the overseas endeavour, Sam Orbell (Year 12) said: “We’re split into two groups on arrival. Mine flies into Chennai in Southern India, after which we travel onto Salem to work with a women’s self-help collective planting mango trees for the village.

“We’ll also trek through Nilgiris’ tea planting area, learning about conservation and anti-poaching initiatives to protect the local elephant population. I can’t wait.”

Veritee Burton (Year 12) added: “We also fly into Chennai before travelling on to Villupuram. We’ll work there with a charity which empowers women, children and Dalits, a low-ranking caste in Indian society. I’m really looking forward to taking part in building projects and helping children learn English.”

Wayne Southern, a Latimer Governor and MD of trip sponsor, 1st Reaction Security Limited, added: “1st Reaction Security has always believed in the value of developing children and young adults in our community.

“We feel that experiencing the culture, lifestyle and environment of one of the world’s largest economies will be extremely beneficial and enriching to their personal development.”