We’re students from SW!TCH Expeditions, a new and groundbreaking alternative school in Dagenham. We all joined SW!TCH because we struggled in mainstream education, but in this exciting project we’re gaining skills and qualifications and learning how to run a business, all through training to complete an expedition overseas!
We’re raising £12,000 to put ourselves to the test, and take what we’ve learnt to Sierra Leone this summer. We’re going to support the work of a children’s home and a farm, but this isn’t about volunteering – we’re going to learn a lot from the young people there who have been starting and growing social enterprises in extremely difficult circumstances.
This is a great opportunity for us to apply what we’ve learned so far at SW!TCH, develop some new skills and experience a totally different culture and way of life.
When we get to Sierra Leone, we’ll head to the capital Freetown, and meet up with Prince Tommy Williams and the team at LifeLine Nehemiah Projects, our twin school. We’ll meet LifeLine students from a very different world, where people are working every day to build a better future, and nothing is taken for granted.
Nehemiah Projects began with a father welcoming child soldiers into his own home raising and educating them. Over time their family grew, becoming an orphanage and school and a beacon of hope in a desperate situation. Now, the project is led by those first boys, supporting victims of war, disease and natural disaster, while changing the community through social enterprise.
"Members of the Nehemiah team here have experienced difficult circumstances to get an official education, start businesses and improve their lives and their community. We can't wait to receive the students from SW!TCH Expeditions to visit our projects, lend a hand, and learn from us about what it takes to run a business in tough circumstances." - Prince Tommy Williams
Before arriving at SW!TCH we were all struggling to find our place in mainstream schools. We were on the verge of dropping out, but now one year later we're studying for qualifications we never thought possible, and we've been learning about how to run a business. We’re going to pick up practical knowledge from the Nehemiah team, who have been starting and growing new businesses in difficult circumstances.
In school, we’ve had the opportunity to develop skills that will help us to complete this expedition – and we’ve even done practice runs to Wales! Our mini-expedition to the Brecon Beacons last summer was a big challenge, but we grew together as a team and we think we’re ready for the next adventure.
Some of us had never left Dagenham before SW!TCH - now we're going to be flying 3000 miles to sub-Saharan Africa, for an unforgettable experience.
We’ve met with other young people who have made expeditions to Sierra Leone and the Nehemiah Project, and have been inspired by the impact it has had on their lives.
“Sierra Leone gave me first-hand experience of how different lives can be from my own – to be welcomed by locals and get involved in their day-to-day lives was an opportunity unlike anything else.”
“I stayed with the Headmaster of the Nehemiah Primary School and his family. The love and care they showed to me was incredible. I was inspired by how dedicated - and caring - these people were to me and their community.”
How can YOU help?
We’re raising £12,000 to support the costs of mounting our expedition, to ensure we stay safe, achieve our goals, and make a difference. Even a small contribution will go a long way towards:
The equipment we need to make camp in the wilderness ⛺☕☂
Resources, to teach in the children’s home and at the farms ✏✂✒
Travel costs to get out there and stay safe ✈⛵⛽
We’ve got some great rewards available! Once you’ve donated, please share our project on Facebook, and follow us for pics and updates as we head out on our expedition in June!
About SW!TCH Expeditions:
Combining vocational skills and academic qualifications, SW!TCH Expeditions is a registered independent school that brings together small groups of young people in a business-like educational environment.
Working together, the students handle the fundraising, logistics and administration involved with camping expeditions. The curriculum embeds academic studies within a project based learning approach around the expedition.
The organisation currently operates several projects throughout Sierra Leone, including: formal education, vocational skills training, agricultural development, various social enterprises and a care home for young people.