Abbey Gate College has a long-running partnership with Mlindzini community in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). Mlindzini is in a remote, mountainous, area of the South-Western part of Eswatini, and we have been working with Mlindzini High School and its two feeder primary schools, Mbita Primary and Mlindzini Primary, since 2013. Our initial project was in conjunction with SwazAid and the Rotary Club, fundraising money to help improve the road into the mountains. Since then, we have run two very successful student expeditions, in 2016 and 2018, with Abbey Gate College students visiting the community and helping to build new kitchen blocks at Mlindzini High School and Mbita Primary School. Our students spent time getting to know pupils and staff at the schools, and were also able to travel more widely in Eswatini, experiencing safari and getting involved in conservation work at the game parks.
The planned expedition in 2020 was, unfortunately, not able to go ahead, due to the pandemic. However, the student team had already managed to fundraise a large sum of money, and this was still donated to the community. This has allowed the planned building project for 2020, a new library and office at Mlindzini Primary School, to go ahead, and there was money left over to support the other schools as well. Mlindzini High School has used the donation to buy building materials for a new agricultural laboratory. We are so pleased that we have been able to help the schools with these projects and we are looking forward to visiting the community again soon. Students in Years 10, 11 and Lower Sixth are currently signing up for the next expedition in July 2022.