Thai Adventure for Lynn Sixth Formers

Thai Adventure for Lynn Sixth Formers
The students visited Elephant Nature Park in Northern Thailand.

A group of Lynn sixth formers spent time caring for rescued elephants and working with disadvantaged children whilst on a trip to Thailand recently.

The 22 students from Springwood High School spent over two weeks in Thailand on the Challenges Abroad Global Citizen initiative, dividing their time between Mae Sariang, Chiang Mai, and an elephant sanctuary.

“The first week we were based at the Challenges Abroad hub in Mae Sariang,” said Lynne Franklin, Head of Sixth Form (Pastoral) at Springwood, who accompanied the group along with Assistant Head of Sixth Form (Pastoral) Sandra Williams and Drama Teacher Alun Bliss.

“We worked with the FutureSense Foundation to run extra-curricular Summer Camp activities for students to supplement their education, and provide additional learning through their holidays.

“We delivered workshops in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths (STEAM) activities to Thai students aged six to 19 years. The project goal was to help the local children develop their English skills through these activities.

“Working with the local children, and their fantastic response to the workshops our students delivered, were highlights of the trip, along with the warmth and friendliness of the Thai people in general.”

After spending a week at the Summer Camp, the Springwood group enjoyed three days in Chiang Mai, where they explored the Old Town and visited markets and temples, before travelling to the nearby Elephant Nature Park, where they spent a further five days.

WEB Thai trip The 22 students had the opportunity to prepare the elephant’s food.

Founded by renowned conservationist Lek Chailert, the sanctuary is home to over 100 rescued elephants, as well as cats, dogs, pigs and water buffalo.

“Students helped with the daily duties of caring for the animals, such as preparing their food, cleaning the elephant night time accommodation, walking the disabled dogs et cetera,” explained Mrs Franklin. “They also attended talks from Lek Chailert, and gained a true understanding of conservation and animal welfare, spending time with the elephants, observing their behaviour and hearing the stories of their rescue.”

“I am so grateful that I was given this opportunity to go to Thailand,” said student Anushka Bakka. “This trip not only allowed me to develop new skills, but also allowed me to experience a new culture.

“It was such an exciting two weeks, with so many exciting outings, one of my favourites being the Elephant Nature Park. Meeting the founder, Lek Chailert, and learning about her hard work was so inspiring, not to mention being in an amazing place filled with elephants and many other rescued animals.”

Classmate Cara Bedwell agreed: “Volunteering in the Elephant Park was an amazing opportunity and full of new, incredible experiences and memories. The whole trip pushed me completely out of my comfort zone, and it was so worth it, as I feel as though I have gained a lot from it.”

Their feelings were shared by other group members.

Hannah Howes said, “This trip really opened my eyes to the world we live in and my impact on it. I am forever grateful to Challenges Abroad, FutureSense Foundation and Springwood High School for enabling me to have participated in this life-changing trip,” while Grace Thompson said, “My time in Thailand was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. When I worked with the school, I found myself feeling a profound sense of achievement and joy to be able to engage and learn with such an amazing group of people.”

Madeleine Robinson added: “Being able to make a small impact on the world through working with the children and helping out at the elephant sanctuary has helped me see the beauty of Thailand,” and Beatriz Ferreira said: “This trip to Thailand really demonstrated to me the meaning of a Global Citizen through personal experience, which is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget.”

It was the third time that Springwood, which is part of the West Norfolk Academies Trust, had taken part in the Thailand trip.

“This was a life-changing trip for our students,” said Mrs Franklin. “They found the opportunity to work in a disadvantaged community and contribute towards building a brighter future for the children extremely rewarding.

“To see a culture quite different to their own, but also to be able to connect and share experiences, was fabulous.”

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