A 20-strong group of Everton in the Community volunteers and NCS graduates have been praised for bringing "hope to the lives of children, their parents and our whole community" by carrying out essential social action work during a 10-day trip to Kenya.
The group spent their time in the African country undertaking transformative renovation works at Jubilee Academy and West End Destiny Kids Academy, two rural schools for young children.
Having completely self-funded the trip through their fundraising efforts, the group helped to create new and improved teaching spaces by remodelling classroom walls and floors, as well as delivering learning and physical activity sessions to pupils at both schools and teaching them all about Everton Football Club and its history.
In addition to their social action work within the two schools, the Everton in the Community party left a lasting legacy in Kenya when - thanks to donations from the volunteers, NCS graduates and Everton Football Club - they bought and installed a fully-functioning permanent water tap with a 10,000 litre storage tank for West End Destiny Kids Academy, ensuring that the school children and their families no longer have to walk several miles to collect water.
Donations from Everton Football Club also meant that the group were able to purchase food and toiletries from a local supermarket and deliver them to families living in the slums and a dump in Nakuru which is currently home to 100,000 Kenyans.
The Everton in the Community group also distributed clothing to local families, as well as purchasing a number of mattresses for both schools to enable the school children to have a comfortable sleep during the day, whereas previously up to eight children shared one mattress.
The Everton in the Community party have returned to England with a piece of Kenya forever in their hearts and have ensured they have left a piece of Everton in the African country.
The school children were introduced to a football for the first time and discovered a new found love of the sport, as well as mastering the words to ‘Forever Everton’ and ‘If You Know Your History’.
Reflecting on the trip, Everton in the Community Volunteer Manager Adam Howard said: “Speaking on behalf of the entire group, this experience has been one of the most fulfilling and rewarding of our lives. To be welcomed so warmly into the local community was a great honour and I am very proud of the work that we have been able to do over here in improving their school facilities.
“We realised very early on in our trip that the social needs of this community were far greater than we ever imagined, and we spoke with the Club about this, as well as keeping them up-to-date with our daily activities and sharing videos and photos of our stay with them.
"Thanks to the Club’s contribution, and donations from us as individuals, we have been able to gift the community with key essentials that will help equip them with a better standard of living.”
After the installation of the water tank, Valentine Adisa, headteacher at West End Destiny Kids Academy, said: “Everyone is sending messages of thanks to Everton in the Community for making such an important change to the lives of our children.
"You have brought hope to the lives of the children, their parents and our whole community. The smiles you have brought into our lives will last a lifetime and in you we have found wonderful friends forever.”
The trip to Kenya was organised with the help of African Adventures, a company which provides meaningful group volunteer projects in Ghana, Kenya and Zanzibar.
To see more photographs of the works and Everton in the Community's visit to Kenya, view our gallery here.