Memories Of Zanzibar

A group of volunteers from Preston North End Community and Education Trust recall their memories of a recent trip to Zanzibar to renovate and help out at a deprived local school

Staff from Preston North End Community and Education Trust (PNECET) as well as volunteers from the public recently embarked on a life-changing trip to Zanzibar as part of a special volunteering project, to leave a positive lasting legacy on the African island.

Here is a first-hand summary of the trip, from the PNECET volunteers giving a unique insight into the work carried out during the trip that saw them working at Fuoni School, improving the lives of pupils and staff.

Harriet Creighton-Levis
“As the group organiser and leader for our first overseas volunteering trip, I witnessed first-hand the impact of PNECET on the school, its staff and most importantly, the pupils.

“The commitment and dedication from our volunteers was phenomenal – I was so proud of us as a Trust, embarking on the journey of volunteering abroad and the group that we took to Zanzibar.

“To live within a deprived local community and support them while embracing their culture and their diverse situations was special to us, and them. You could feel their true appreciation of your presence and support. At the school, there were class sizes of 80 plus students, no tables or chairs, no lights, no educational resources, no catering facility or communal space for teacher or pupil, just bare rooms and some uneven outdoor space, which was shared with cows, where we played our sport.”

Sue Devaney
“It’s hard to put it all into words but for me I would say the trip was life changing and I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to go.

“The children and staff at school were so happy and eager to learn and meet us. Although they have very little in the way of facilities, they were all happy to be there. The children were so enthusiastic and engaged in all our activities, it was a pleasure to be with them and very difficult to leave.

“I think we made a lasting difference with the renovation work we undertook. It certainly brightened the place up. I only wish we had longer to complete it all.

“Stone Town itself was a beautiful place to stay, contrasting between the everyday housing, shops and market stalls and large five-star hotels along the seafront. The atmosphere was so very friendly with strangers shouting ‘Jambo’ and ‘Hakuna Matata’ with fist pumps and high fives every day. We felt so very welcome everywhere we went. It was infectious!

“It was all over so quickly but it was a trip to remember and cherish forever. I would go back in a heartbeat.”

Sulaimaan Mullah
“We spent 10 days working with Fuoni School to teach lessons, coach sports and help with construction to help better the education and lives of the hundreds of children. It was a humbling and rewarding experience and some great memories were made in Zanzibar.

“The most memorable moment was the big football tournament that myself, Alex and Harrison organised. Just being able to play football with young children and seeing them happy was a great way to end our time there.”

Alistair White
“As someone who was involved in the initial conversations with African Adventures about setting up a trip for PNECET, the feeling of actually being out in Zanzibar engaging with the school and all the pupils was even better!

“It was a pleasure to lead such a passionate and committed group of volunteers who all wanted to make a difference. Everyone put so much effort into raising funds, collecting donations and thinking of ideas for classroom and sports sessions and to see how appreciative the pupils and teachers were for our support, was so humbling.

“I will never forget all the people we met, their smiles and the memories we shared together.”

Mary Hewitt
“I have met so many amazing people from this experience. Working in the school made you really think about how lucky we are. A lot of children had no shoes and some of their bags were just sacks. It felt so good knowing that we had vital equipment that we were leaving for them and it was clear it was certainly needed.

“My time there has really made me reflect on my own life. Its allowed me to take a step back from the stress of daily life, technology and the ‘what’s next’ attitude. I now try to appreciate the simple things, taking in my surroundings and being present in the moment.

“I will never forget that when we were leaving, a group of girls noticed I was becoming quite emotional and wiped away my tears saying, ‘Don’t cry, be happy. We love you and we will miss you’.”

PNECET would like to thank Business Gift UK for sponsoring the volunteer T-shirts for the Zanzibar trip.

Ben Ward, General Manager at Business Gifts UK, said: “As a local company, we’re really proud of the work PNECET do in the community so we were more than happy to support the Zanzibar trip with the donation of branded T-shirts for the volunteers. They are a great way of spreading the PNE name to a new corner of the world and we’re sure the work carried out by the team will leave a long-lasting legacy in Stone Town.”

If you are interested in supporting similar fundraising trips in the future or would like to become a partner of PNECET, please contact:



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