Making a difference to children who don’t know where next meal is coming from

Louise Atkinson with some of the children she spent time with in Kenya
Louise Atkinson with some of the children she spent time with in Kenya

An aspiring teacher is even more determined to achieve her chosen career after returning from a trip to Africa to develop her skills.

Seventeen-year-old Louise Atkinson spent 11 days in Kenya, where she taught English, maths and sports to children.

She was part of a team of National Citizen Service graduates who went on the adventure with Hartlepool United Community Sports Foundation.

Louise, from Billingham, raised £1,700 to go.

She said: “I would recommend the experience to anybody. I’m going to go back next year, it was absolutely amazing.

“It was an amazing cultural experience. The kids were so happy even though they didn’t know where their next meal was coming from.

“They were so appreciative of everything. On one of the days we handed out our donations and all the kids were so thankful of small things like pencils and toothpaste, stuff that we don’t even think about.”

As part of the trip, Louise had a hand in improving classrooms for the Kenyan children.

She added: “We clipped the floor away and made cement that was put down on the floor and walls to make them flat.

“We then painted the walls the Hartlepool colours of blue and white and added inspirational quotes.”

Louise, who is studying sport at Middlesbrough College, is hoping to be offered a sport scholarship to study in Texas, in the US, next year and hopes to eventually progress to a sports coaching or teaching career.

“My college tutors have been really supportive and I have learnt a lot from my visit to Kenya,” she said.

“The experience was very helpful and rewarding and has confirmed my decision to go into sports coaching or teaching after I have finished my college course.”

The National Citizen Service operates from a base at Middlesbrough College’s Dock Street campus.

The next NCS programme, which is open to young people aged 15-17, is taking place during the summer holidays. Call (0191) 247 4020 or visit ncsnortheast.co.uk to find out more.