Withington Onwards Travel Award Report (2007 winner) – Nutan Anya Patel

Nutan Anya Patel won one of our 2007 Withington Onwards (formerly Senior Club) Travel Awards and has sent us the following report of her travel experience.


In 2006 I became involved in a student-run charity project called SKIP [Students and Kids International Projects] set up by two medical students at Birmingham University who opened two schools in Zambia. The project has now expanded to ten different universities in Britain, with schools all over the world and the ultimate goal over several years is to leave the chosen schools in a fully sustainable manner, with a constant, manageable food supply, fully-trained teachers, a working curriculum, a suitable work environment and a good awareness of typical health problems in the area.

Over the year I have participated in many fund-raising events in order to raise money for the Birmingham project. The money ultimately goes towards the education and health of the children in the Zambian villages that we visited. Over 60 volunteers were out in Zambia this summer. We taught English and Maths to the children who were of various ages and abilities. With the language barrier and the mixed abilities, this proved to be a challenge but an extremely worthwhile challenge at that! We also presented talks on relevant health issues in the communities, such as AIDS, malaria, cholera, breast-feeding and STDs. The response from these talks was most endearing! We also helped to rebuild a school, getting rid of the old wood and straw foundations, replacing it with a solid concrete and brick structure. Although the weeks were long, they were very rewarding, and on top of all this, we got the opportunity to travel around Zambia during the weekends. We visited the beautiful Victoria Falls, went white-water rafting, went on a safari, and relaxed on a beach island [just to name a few].

It has been a truly rewarding and worthwhile experience, and at the same time I have been able to see a whole new country, whilst encountering its rich culture.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Withington Onwards for their generous donation towards my trip. It was very much appreciated!

Nutan Patel