The school had the pleasure of hosting students from two different countries for a week of sport, culture and education.
A group of girls from St Lucia and Brazil stayed in pairs with students in Years 7 and 8 for ten days.
During this time they spent some time in school sharing their experiences, competed in a rugby tournament and a netball tournament, attended a team building day at Surrey University, visited the House of Commons and also engaged in activities at a Fleet Street law firm on International Women’s Day.
Children’s charity Touraid brought eight groups of ten girls from all corners of the world - Brazil, St Lucia, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Trinidad & Tobago, Swaziland and Uganda, to compete in a girls’ tag rugby festival to coincide with International Women’s Day.
With more than 60 rugby tours to its name, Touraid is committed to transforming the lives of disadvantaged children. As a consequence of participating in the Touraid experience, significant economic and educational benefits result for the children and the wider community.
The girls return home as ambassadors and role models, full of confidence and self-esteem, leaving behind a deeper understanding of the struggles they face every day. The Hemel Hempstead School raised money to support the girls during their stay by various means, such as a non-uniform day where the children paid £1 to wear an item of clothing in a colour of either the St Lucian or Brazilian flag. There was also a sports quiz with a raffle and auction and overall more than £2,000 was raised.
Many generous prizes were given by local businesses such as Sportspace, The Snow Centre, Bovingdon & Flaunden Tennis Club, Langley Tennis Club, Dacorum Borough Council, Watford Football Club and KKLaw Solicitors.
The Hemel Hempstead School would especially like to thank Sportspace for donating two hours at the XC extreme sports centre to allow all the host girls, plus students from the school to try out climbing, indoor caving and high ropes. Also singled out for thanks were A to B coaches, a local independent family run operator, very generously donated a 49 seater coach and driver, to enable the children to get to events in Surrey on three different days and Hotel Chocolat who treated 20 girls from St Lucia and England to a ‘Bean to Bar Experience’ in their Covent Garden store.
The girls had a fantastic time learning how cocoa beans are made into chocolate, and they also made their own chocolate bars and truffles using cocoa from the Rabot Estate Cocoa Plantation in St Lucia. One of the girls from the Hemel Hempstead School, who was lucky enough to take part, has a link with this estate in St Lucia. It was her great grandmother who planted the cocoa trees 80 years ago and the land was in the family until sold to Hotel Chocolat in 2006.
Overall the tour has been a fantastic success. As the Touraid T-shirts say: What goes on on tour no longer stays on tour. It stays with you for life.