After more than a year of planning and fund raising, three students from Tashkent International School and their teacher traveled to the African country of Sierra Leone in early April to participate in the Project 3580 charity. The students – Kamila, Yoonjeong and Michaela – and their teacher – Mark Hughes – returned to Tashkent on April 29 after their incredible African adventure.
Project 3580 is a nonprofit charity organization in the United Kingdom that has partnered with a school in Sierra Leone. This is the first year students from TIS have traveled to Africa to participate in Project 3580. Teacher Kate Sorrell went with the UK group in 2012, which is when she began the TIS iniciative, and also in 2011when she was working in the UK.
While in Sierra Leone, the TIS group joined with students and teachers from the UK to paint a school, a police station, visit a clinic and bring much-needed medical supplies, play with children, and other volunteer duties as needed.
Michaela, grade 10, reflected on parts of the trip.
“It was exciting and fun to meet the other students and teachers from the UK and to learn about their lives and why they wanted to go on this trip,” said Michaela. “Many of them were around the same age as us, so it was easy to get along.
“We really enjoyed painting the classrooms and playing with the kids outside when we took breaks. It was inspirational to see the children and talk and play with them.
As for the new culture and new experience, it was both a little shocking and exciting at the same time.
“It was almost unsettling how much help was evidently needed in many aspects of the town, such as the school, roads, houses, the clinic, and even the police station,” Michaela said. It was shocking to see a place so set back in time; it made us want to help them in any way possible.
“We all agreed that being in Sierra Leone was an experience in which a person is both in awe of the culture and all its interesting aspects and the beautiful nature overall of Africa, but at the same time trying to avoid culture shock, mostly from the poverty and how differently people there live from us,” said Michaela.
For photos from the Project 3580 trip, visit the TIS Facebook Page.
TIS teacher and trip leader Mark Hughes also posted several photos from the trip, including images he captured while visiting other parts of Sierra Leone.Sierra Leone: Faces – by Mark Hughes
Sierra Leone: Places – by Mark Hughes