Kenya Immersion Trip 2013 - letter to parents

                                                            7th January 2013


Dear Parents/Guardian


In conjunction with Mary Ward International (MWI), it is proposed that a group of 20 girls and 4 teachers from Loreto College, St Stephen’s Green (LSG) will travel to Kenya on the fifth year of the Kenya Immersion Experience. The girls will leave Dublin on Friday 18th October and return on Sunday 3rd November 2013.


The broad aims of the programme are to give the girls an education and understanding of Third World issues in conjunction with some first-hand experiences of life on the ground, albeit in a safe and sheltered manner. It is also hoped that the visit will act as a precursor to a longer-term programme linking Loreto College St. Stephen’s Green with the Kenyan province and as a spur to keeping development education initiatives on the school curriculum.


Over the last few years we have worked hard to establish links with our colleagues in Kenya and have been liaising in Nairobi with Sr Caitriona Kelly, Sr Mary Owens, a former Provincial of the Loreto Order in Kenya and a past pupil of this school and Sr Margaret Chegge who, as a Kenyan Loreto Sister has been very generous with her time and local expertise.


The programme will consist of ‘hands-on’ activities for the girls during the day and discussions with key programme managers and collective debrief and feedback sessions in the evenings.


The girls will be split into two groups for two blocs of one week placements.

The first group will help out as teachers’ assistants in a primary school, St. Joseph’s, in the slums of Kangemi. St. Joseph’s was founded by a Loreto sister 25 years ago.


The second group will travel ‘up-country’ and work in the new Nyumbani Village in Kitui. The village is an offshoot of the Nyumbani Orphanage in Karen, Nairobi and is designed to cater for children orphaned through the Aids epidemic and aims to reintegrate the children into a local community. The girls will be expected to participate fully in the village life and will be assigned to a variety of areas such as crèches, child-care, kitchen duties, farm duties and even some light manual labour.


Accommodation in Nyumbani will be in the village, which is a 1000 acre self contained property, while those in Nairobi will be billeted in the Mary Ward Centre, specifically designed to accommodate visitors.


The selection process for the Kenya Immersion Experience is as follows:-

      There has been an information seminar for all Transition Year Students.

      The students have until Friday, 11th January, to submit a letter to Ms. Barrett, declaring their interest in being considered for the trip.

      Application forms are given to all students who submit a letter and these forms are completed at school.

      A panel of experts in the area of Development Education selects a group for interview (usually about 24).

      Interviews are arranged for a school day (during the week beginning Monday 22th January) and cannot be rescheduled.  Twenty students are then chosen by the external panel.  Teachers from the school sit in on the interviews all day to help students to feel comfortable.


When a student writes the letter of interest, both she and her parents/guardians must agree to accept the results of the shortlisting stage and the final interview. For some students there inevitably will be a sense of disappointment which should be factored into the initial decision to apply and should be fully discussed at home.  The decision of the interview is final and there is no appeals process.


Total costs for the trip are approximately €2,150*.  At interview, students must give tangible proof of their ability to work to earn this money.  Full guidelines will be given to the girls but it is important for parents to know that standard fundraising is often inappropriate as it is not going to a charity but rather to fund travel and accommodation for the students themselves. For example, a church gate collection could not be sanctioned by the school as there could be an implication that the money would be going to charities in Kenya when in fact it is not. However, babysitting every week to raise money would be perfect or even a ‘Kenya Evening’ for friends and family where your daughter does all the catering/ clearing-up etc. and the attendees contribute to her travel costs.


The experience of both teachers and students in the last four years has been wonderful and many describe the trip as life-changing. If your daughter is strong in mind and body, open to new experiences, willing to ‘rough it’ and prepared to eat whatever is served at mealtimes, she should consider applying!


This information for parents is by way of an introduction, but as the girls have to face major responsibilities in Kenya, all further information is channelled through them. We will not notify parents about interview dates, results etc. as we have huge expectations of these young adults. If your daughter is chosen you will be invited to a meeting just before the summer holidays. In the meantime if you have any questions please encourage your daughter to seek clarification from me or from Ms Smith.



Yours faithfully


Triona Barrett



*This cannot be finalised yet due to the uncertainty of travel/transport costs