An online company spread a little love this past Valentine’s Day by giving 12 pupils from a rural town in the Eastern Cape a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the UK.
The pupils, from Ntafufu Senior Secondary School in Lusikisiki, flew out to the UK on Tuesday evening as part of a London-based student exchange charity called Both (Broaden Out Their Horizons).
Both is an educational charity based in London which facilitates an exchange programme between South Africa and London, whereby pupils are given the opportunity to experience a different culture.
Global travel search platform Cheapflights is Both’s key partner and its staff have raised the funds required to fly Ntafufu pupils over.
The monetary funding from their website goes towards flights, accommodation and activities for this trip.
One of the founders of Both, Linda Quinn, said theirs was an innovative, exciting charity founded on the belief that young people learn best from each other, and can and should make a difference in each other’s lives and to the future.
“We aim to support schools in developed and developing countries by funding and organising exchange visits with partner schools so pupils can share similarities and learn from their differences,” said Quinn, adding that later in the year, 12 pupils from the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (EGA) school in Islington, north London will be visiting Ntafufu.
Cheapflights MD Andrew Shelton said they were proud to contribute to such a “fascinating” opportunity, and that his team had enjoyed every moment of fundraising the more than R350000 needed to make it happen.
“And if, from this trip, the pupils are able to learn that there is more that unites than divides them from their peers in London, and it instils in them a desire to search out new ways to broaden their horizons through travel in the future – then we will be very happy,” said Shelton.
The pupils will spend 10 days exploring London and all that the city has to offer and getting a flavour of British life and society, from visiting major sites like Big Ben, the London Eye and the British Museum, to visiting Cheapflights and spending time in EGA classrooms.
While in London, they will stay with the families of EGA pupils.
Pupils were selected after first submitting application forms, followed by a motivation and outline as to why they wanted to be part of the exchange, and finally what they believed they would gain from the experience.
A 17-year-old Ntafufu pupil, Chwayita Zethu Mkontwana, said she was nervous to go overseas for the first time but also excited to be doing something new. — firstname.lastname@example.org