Students from Dundee and Angus have raised more than £45,000 in a year for the education charity Childreach International.
In the summer, students from the University of Dundee, Abertay University and Dundee and Angus College set off into the blistering heat of the Atlas mountains in Morocco to build an education centre. The 16 students lived among villagers, helping with the manual labour needed to clean, prepare, tile and plaster the building.
Alice Palombo, president of Friends of Childreach International at Dundee University, said: “The reception we received was fantastic and humbling. The chief decanted his entire extended family so we would have somewhere to stay.
“We were taken for a trek through the mountains before we started 11 days of hard work, which seemed to mainly involve shovelling dirt. At the end of it all it was very satisfying to see this new facility starting to take shape.”
The centre the group helped to build is now being put to maximum use by children during the day and women in the evenings.
In order to be a part of the team in Morocco, each student had to raise £1,500. In the end, the group – led by Friends of Childreach International societies at both Dundee and Abertay universities – raised almost £24,000. Another group travelled to Kenya to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, earning about £22,000 for the organisation.
Amy Bryson, president of Friends of Childreach International at Abertay, said: “I can’t convey just how welcoming and accommodating the villagers were. They treated us as part of the community and welcomed us into their homes, showing us their way of life. They had the utmost patience when teaching us how to build.
“None of us had any building experience so it was very new, but we definitely learnt some new skills. The kids were amazing, they were very excited to have us there and all wanted to learn from us.
“Childreach International works in the high Atlas Mountains to allow the Berber children there to learn French and Arabic, which means they can go out into the wider community and large cities for further education.”