Mission accomplished for Hitchin teenagers helping others in South Africa

Agroup of teenagers who each raised £1,500 to take part in an 11-day project in South Africa have returned home, mission accomplished.

The ReBuild project was run by national youth charity Urban Saints whose chief executive is Hitchin Christian Centre senior pastor Matt Summerfield, in partnership with San Diego-based Amor Ministries.

Four volunteer leaders and 10 young people, aged 15 to 19, from Hitchin joined 68 others from youth groups around the UK in Botleng, a township near Johannesburg, where they built a simple house for a family living in poverty and spent a week running fun activities for local children

They raised the money for the trip, which not only covered flights and accommodation but also the building supplies and tools used, through a wide range of cash-generating ideas including market stalls, a fun run, car wash, sponsored bike ride, a football tournament, variety show, talent competition, cake sales, big breakfasts, and tea parties.

Hitchin Girls School pupil Emillie Jayne Wright, who took part in the trip, said: “This was an opportunity of a lifetime.

“I’m sure many of us are still trying to understand some of the stories we have been told, but that doesn’t overshadow the memories we have made.

“One of my particular favourites is the faces of the orphans when we gave them all the toys – excitement and pure joy, totally inspiring.”

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William Evans-Pughe, who works at Halsey’s Deli in the town, said: “We all returned home with broken hearts because for eight days we experienced the real world and the people whose lives were changed forever from our appearance and love that we gave them.”

The team also included Dan Shepherd, Daniel Summerfield, Jahvn McCallum, Joshua Daramola, Aime Ball, Charles Rawlings, Alistair Hansen, Rebbeka Middleditch, Amanda Middleditch, Lauren Eden, Tayoa M Adekunlee and Craig White.

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