Hackney youths volunteer at South African homeless shelter

Charity Hackney Quest takes youths on eye-opening trip.

A GROUP of Hackney youths had the cultural experience of a lifetime when they visited South Africa to share life lessons with people their own age.

Hackney Quest, a charity supporting young people to achieve their goals and broaden their horizons in the borough, took nine youths on the trip which included spending two days in a township volunteering at a homeless shelter.

The group, based in Poole Road, Homerton, spent months prior to the trip hosting raffles, baking cakes, washing cars and packing bags at Tesco to raise more than �12,000 for the trip.

The cash went towards flights, accommodation and food leaving the young people free to focus on running workshops on sexual health, different cultures and sharing challenges and opportunities.

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The ultimate aim was to empower the young with the ability to make the right choices in their lives.

Keeley Williams, youth participation and volunteer manager, Hackney Quest, said: “All the young people completed a jam packed schedule and formed unity and international friendships leading to in depth understanding of each other’s values, goals and aspirations.

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“Both groups come from diverse backgrounds and have overcome many obstacles to achieve an outstanding nine days of exploratory work and they hope to continue making a positive difference in their communities.”

As well as engaging with young people in South Africa the group also visited the New Cross Road and Nyanga townships to experience traditional African food and culture.

They made a documentary about their everyday lives which explored what it is like to be a young person in their countries and their hopes for the future.

The Hackney young people spent two days in the Langa township where they volunteered at the Ikhaya Labantu homeless shelter, supporting with child care at the shelter’s cr�che, helping with the monthly food shopping and painting murals on the walls of a classroom.

For more information about Hackney Quest visit www.hackneyquest.org.uk

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