Emma Mc Aree, a fifth year student in St. Louis Secondary School returned to South Africa to volunteer with the Niall Mellon Trust. This was Emma’s second time to make this journey and she had to fundraise to enable her to go. Well done Emma.
This is an account of her experience.
“On Saturday 11th November I joined with 290 volunteers as we embarked on a week of hard work, friendship and laughter , on a mission to build 3 schools in Khayelitsha township in the heart of Capetown, South Africa.
With our 17 hour flight over us we headed to the hotel and immediately on to the site. Over the next 6 days I did everything from painting, to pointing, floating concrete and shoveling cement. All the hard work was easily balanced with the laughter, singing and pure happiness of every volunteer working on the site and with the children attending the schools.
On our site we built 7 classrooms, 1 play area and 1 lunch area. Not only did we build physical classrooms but we built futures for the children who will attend the schools and friendships were made for life over this amazing week. There was a massive sense of pride in every volunteer, foreman and team leader as we stepped off the bus every morning to begin work on the site.
Now that we are home and every volunteer has returned to their own corner of the world, the events of the week are constantly on our minds. I am reliving every action, every conversation and every face I met during my week there. I feel sad and have a longing to return but I know that I have to wait before I can return. I realise that this organization are like an extension of my family and I know it is the best thing I have ever done in my life. Mellon Educate has given me a new perspective on life and for that I am truly grateful.”