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Mel joins Manurewa High School on trip of a lifetime

Posted on 01/10/2014 by
Mel (2nd from the right) and students from Manurewa High School at Auckland International Airport

ITC Short Course Team Leader Mel (4th from the right with short sleeves and hairband) and students from Manurewa High School at Auckland International Airport

ITC’s very own Short Course Team Leader Mel Verwijmeren is currently on a trip of a lifetime in Southeast Asia. Mel joined Manurewa High School’s fourth HALP (Humanitarian Aid Leadership Programme) expedition to Thailand and Laos, of which ITC is a proud sponsor.

The trip is an amazing opportunity for students to see first-hand what life is like for people in this part of the world. For many students, it is their first time out of New Zealand, making it a significant life-changing experience.

The focus of the two-week expedition is humanitarian aid. Laos has been ravaged by war, genocide, human rights issues and other political problems in recent times. New Zealand organisations such as NZAid are working closely with local communities to improve living conditions and help those in need. The students are visiting many NZAid projects to gain a real understanding of the humanitarian challenges Laos faces.

In addition to humanitarian work, the students will also participate in several cultural activities and visit popular tourist spots. We’re sure the beautiful landscapes in magical Laos will give them all an appetite for international travel.

HALP 2014 Trip Highlights

  • Meeting the NZ Ambassador in Bangkok
  • Visiting the UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang
  • Evening cooking classes at Tamarind Café – students will learn to cook traditional Northern Lao cuisine. Yum!
  • Visiting a local school in Ban Lad Khamoune (funded by an NZ Trust called Bridging the Gap Mekong Trust)
  • Riding elephants at the All Lao Elephant Camp
  • Seeing bears up close at the Bear Rescue Centre
  • Visiting the mysterious Plain of Jars site

A former MHS student herself, Mel feels incredibly lucky to join the school on this special journey. It may also be a blast from the past – trip organiser and Deputy Principal Phil Muir used to be her English teacher!

ITC is very proud to sponsor this trip. The College has worked closely with MHS for a number of years and sees firsthand the positive impact the HALP expedition has on students. Those who have participated in previous trips have come back more mature, worldly and motivated to make a positive difference.

We miss Mel as she makes her way from bustling Bangkok to beautiful Lao villages, but look forward to hearing all about it upon her return in October. Watch this space!

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