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Case Study: World Challenge

Date Posted: 16/07/2014

Pupils on a World Challenge trip to Cambodia.

Life skills and new experiences in south-east Asia for a group of students from the All Saints school in Dagenham.

Case study: World Challenge, Thailand and Cambodia
School: All Saints Secondary School, Dagenham, London
Number of pupils: 15
KS: 5

“How can we equip students with skills that classroom learning can’t necessarily provide and how can we develop the important life skills that come with new experiences?”

Funmi Adenaike and Daisy Hamilton, teachers from All Saints School in Dagenham, found the answer to this question through World Challenge, which in turn provided students with an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The education through exploration challenge promises to develop key life skills, including communication, teamwork, risk management, negotiation, delegation and money management.

In addition, some of the UK’s key employers have voted World Challenge as the fourth most important activity undertaken at school.

World Challenge has been organising expeditions for young people since 1987. Last year, 247 UK schools went on expeditions with the organisation which travels to 40 destinations around the globe.

The trip to Thailand and Cambodia

After completing their A-Levels, students from the mixed Catholic school were eligible to sign up for the three week trip to Thailand and Cambodia, and 15 were chosen at random to take part in the six day trek. The second part of the expedition involved helping to repair and redecorate a large school in the local community and work with orphans in the area.

The lengthy preparation for the trip was also a key part of the whole experience, as each student needed to raise approximately £3,600 to cover the cost of the trip itself, as well as all the materials required for the work they would be doing when they arrived.

“Seemingly unfazed and excited by the task ahead of them, our students hit the ground running and began planning fundraising events straight away,” said Funmi.

A World Challenge trip

“They did some traditional fundraising which included bag packing in Marks & Spencer, car washing, bake sales and quiz nights. They also hosted a pamper evening in the school where teachers, parents and neighbours paid to have treatments such as facials, massages, manicures and pedicures from local providers, all at a reduced rate.

“A luxury raffle was held on the night where guests could win a huge basket of expensive beauty products. The pamper evening and raffle was a real hit, and contributed a substantial amount to the fund pot. At Christmas the students held a candlelit carol concert in the school which was really wonderful, and people showed their appreciation for it generously.”

Daisy said: “The trip itself was amazing. We travelled to Thailand first and then onto Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The students had to organise their own transport and accommodation in advance, which undoubtedly tested and developed their organisational and communication skills.

“When we arrived in Phnom Penh the physical work began almost immediately and the students started by building the foundations for a water tank. When this was completed, they moved onto the Street Families Centre where they sanded all the walls before decorating it.

“They also taught English to the children and women in the centre, and spent time in a nearby orphanage caring for and playing with the children.”

Practical life skills - and a life changing experience

In addition to the practical life skills learnt, the trip provided opportunity to experience some of the world’s most impressive sights.

The group trekked around Erawan Falls National Park in Thailand, visited the harrowing Killing Fields outside Phnom Penh, explored the temples of Angkor near Siem Reap, trekked through a rainforest, hustled through the night market in Patpong, discovered the Royal Palace in Bangkok, and even found time to go white water rafting and elephant riding.

Teachers Daisy and Funmi on a World Challenge trip

Daisy concluded: “The World Challenge expedition has seen our students learn skills that will not only strengthen personal growth, but will also help secure university places and impress future employers.

“It has also helped me to learn more about them as individuals and connect with them on a very real and human level. I couldn’t recommend it enough to anyone.”

Useful contact:

World Challenge


School Travel Organiser's Guide