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Partnership Trips

Partnership Trips
Nidhi Sangani


This summer, Canfordians set off to India, Argentina and Ghana as part of the Canford Partnership, which focuses on building longstanding and ongoing relationships with vulnerable communities. These annual trips highlight the power of education and invaluably enhance pupils’ global awareness. The pupils went through an interview process to be selected for the trips and each raised at least £500 for the communities that they were visiting.

Canford’s relationship with Goodwill Children’s Homes in Tamil Nadu in Southern India is over 20 years old and continues to grow. As always, the host community warmly welcomed Canfordians with handmade garlands and an abundance of delicious (albeit eye-wateringly spicy!) home-cooked local cuisine that they were of course expected to eat with their right hand. Throughout the trip, Canford pupils thoughtfully planned and enthusiastically delivered lessons on various topics including letter writing, maths, crafts and English. Canfordians were very impressed by the intricate care and creativity of the children’s writing and their ability to write in English. As well as conducting educational lessons, Canfordians also played sports with the children, explored local temples, dressed in saris, tried out local haircuts and performed a unique version of the YMCA song during a cultural concert, which included a crowd pleasing ‘leap-frogging’ entrance. Despite the bucket showers, broken down minibuses and the consequences of the spicy food, the trip was once again a resounding success and the bond between Canford and Goodwill remains strong.

For 15 years, Canford’s partnership with Hogar el Alba (affectionately known as ‘the Hogar’), a children’s home on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, has gone from strength to strength. Sadly, due to a lack of government funding, the Hogar is solely reliant on the donations and free labour from places like Canford. Canfordians immediately see that the Hogar was a special place, bursting at the seams with love and kindness. The Canford team this year focused on renovating the sports hall, which was dilapidated and falling apart. They cemented, sanded and painted all of the walls leaving them with a sports hall to be used by both the home and the slum community. Attention then turned to building new greenhouses for the home to grow their own fruit and vegetables all year round. As well as the hard work the team put into the building projects they spent a considerable amount of time with the children; playing with them, entertaining them or listening to their stories. Over 3 weeks the Canfordians became incredibly close with all of the children as they celebrated children leaving, children arriving, first birthday parties and evenings together. The children clearly had an amazing impact on the group as despite their difficult backgrounds they were still capable of so much love and happiness. The Hogar not only gives them their childhood back it enables them to build a life for the future. To read more about two Lower Sixth pupil’s experiences in Argentina, please click here:

Canford’s link with Ghana began in 2014 and focusses on the development of the country’s only free secondary school; Awutu Winton Senior High School. This year, a key part of the trip was building new dining tables for the school. Canford pupils experienced the buzz of the Ghanian markets as they bought the necessary materials and enjoyed slowly but surely getting to grips with the carpentry skills required to successfully construct the tables. Each day Canford and Awutu pupils learnt more about one another’s way of life through various educational, physical and cultural activities. Keen discussions took place in a mixed Social Studies lesson, as both Canford and Awutu pupils debated the styles, qualities and traits of good leadership. Yet again, sport was a regular feature of the trip and many battles were closely fought on the sports fields. Canfordians certainly fully immersed themselves into Ghanian culture, taking part in a cookery course, learning tribal dances and the Ghanian battle cry, as well as attending a chapel service and visiting Africa’s oldest slave port and the local hospital’s HIV department. Canfordians returned home exhausted but thoroughly inspired by their time in Ghana.

Dr David Neill, Deputy Head Co-Curricular, commented:

“The effect on our friends overseas is more than just monetary. Our partnerships help to reinforce the value of education in poor communities, especially for women. Equally, Canfordians return with useful skills and an appreciation for what they have in material terms and also in terms of opportunities. These trips are a clear demonstration of how education can be used to make a difference both to the person who receives it and to others who interact with them.”

For more information about the Canford Partnerships, please  visit