A SWADLINCOTE girl has spoken of her joy following a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Ethiopia, where she helped to teach 60 children in a school in Addis Ababa.
Yvonne Nordass joined 11 other girls from Derby High School on the two-week trip, when they planned and ran a series of educational workshops for youngsters ages between nine and 14.
Each of the girls had to raise money for their own trip, which was the culmination of a year of planning and preparations.
Yvonne, 17, and her schoolmates were split into two groups and spent one week each teaching and working as team leaders.
She said: “I think it was great to see the impact that we had on the children out there. They were so sad when we had to leave. We were happy to be going home after spending a long time away in a completely different country but we were also sad to be leaving.
“We noticed how happy all the children were and how positive they are about life.”
Yvonne said she ‘thoroughly enjoyed’ teaching the children.
“We had to plan what to do in the lessons and make sure that we took the right materials with us. We based the lessons around things that we had looked at when we learnt languages so we focused on animals, sports and countries. The children were really keen to learn and a lot of them made really massive improvements in their English.
“There was one girl who was quite nervous and shy but by the end of our time there she was much more confident and realised that her English was a lot better than she thought it was.
“I was quite nervous about the teaching but I was a team leader in the first week and had watched the other girls teach so I had an idea of what to do. I was very aware of the language barrier so body language and pictures became very important.”
When they were not teaching, the students had then chance to go out and see first hand the work of some of the charities based in the area.
Yvonne said: “One charity we visited helps street kids to get off the streets and I think that was the biggest reality check for us.”
It is the 10th year the school has sent students to Ethiopia.
Reverend Rachel Barrett, chaplain at Derby High School, who led the visit, said: “Girls are always struck by how happy the children are and they get the chance to experience a totally different culture.”