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Mexico 2016

ReBuild Mexico 1A group of Middlesbrough students have made a life-changing difference to a family in Mexico by building them a new home.

Students from The King’s Academy, in Coulby Newham, spent most of their Easter holiday living in basic conditions themselves in order to take part in a project to construct a house for a family of eight in Tijuana.

It is the third time the academy has joined other volunteers in the Rebuild project, part of Urban Saints, which partners with Amor Ministries in the American city of San Diego, close to the Mexico border, to build homes for those in need.

Amor has strong links with a group of Mexican pastors, who receive hundreds of applications for homes to be built each year from families living in poor conditions.

ReBuild Mexico 2The new home built by The King’s students was for a family whose previous home had just two bedrooms and a living room, a roof made of plastic tarpaulin and walls that were falling apart.

The new house will allow the family to sleep in a safe, weatherproof environment, provide warmth on cold nights.

While in Mexico, the students stayed in tents and had to use long-drop toilets and solar showers, simulating the conditions that many families in Tijuana face every day.

The group had to travel 90 minutes each day from the campsite to the location of the build, which lasted for five days and culminated in a hand-over ceremony on the sixth day when the Mexican family cooked for them.

After returning to Coulby Newham, sixth former Kirsty Gosnay said:

Rebuild Mexico has taught me more about life than I ever thought I could know. Every day-to-day complaint in my life has been put into perspective and I have gained great friends on the way.

“A first-hand view of poverty like this is not nice to view but it is the harsh reality of our unfair world. Through trips like this you can begin to make a change.”

Rachael Clarkson added:

ReBuild Mexico 4You could donate all the money in the world to charity in an attempt to change lives, however nothing will ever compare to going out there and making a difference yourself.

“With Rebuild Mexico, not only did we experience poverty first-hand but we also saw the physical difference we were making to the lives of a family who live in this poverty by building them a safe and secure home.”

Holly Grob said:

Being able to tangibly change the lives and circumstances of a family living in such poverty is such an incredible opportunity and one that has made me realise how much of a difference we can make as individuals.

“It was a life-changing experience and I have come back with a renewed mindset and a greater understanding of those less fortunate than myself.”

Fay Loughran added:

“This experience has given me an out-take on life I could have never have imagined was possible. You feel joy in places where you thought was none. You come together with new people and see what you have achieved. You can change a life, say you have a place in this world and if nothing else you know you’ve done something good.”

The other students on the trip were Marybeth Hunt, Jack McTiernan and Harvey Clapperton.

Teacher John Belmont, who has organised the student trip each year, said:

It is a huge privilege to be able to take students on an experience like this. I am inspired each year by the attitude of the students and the way that they respond to the poverty that they experience and I am grateful to the leaders of Rebuild Mexico for all they do to make the trip run so smoothly.”