Students get set to jet out for the opportunity of a lifetime to build and repair schools in South Africa. 

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

North Kent College Construction students are a step closer to flying out to South Africa next month, having been offered the chance to help build and repair schools in a week courtesy of UK charity Mellon Educate and funded by local business entrepreneur Mark Lindop. After funding 3 students last year, Mark is continuing the support for a 2nd year running, and giving 3 more students the opportunity of a lifetime.

Inspired by Nelson Mandela, Niall Mellon created the charity Mellon Educate in 2002 to help change lives and bring education to impoverished communities in South Africa. This year’s school build will take place in November and see 250 volunteers build and repair several schools in just a week. 

The winning students, Jake Ripley, Kieran Hewitt & Jordan Macpherson, will be expanding their knowledge base by working across multiple trades and witnessing first-hand the logistics involved in running a large scale initiative on tight deadlines. The students will work on anything from cement, plastering, paving to painting. They will work on a school, building multiple classrooms, playgrounds, kitchens, science labs and more. Joining them in this exceptional project will be bricklaying tutor, Phil Miles and Learning Support Assistant, Debbie Risby.

Kieran Hewitt, commented, “We are so lucky to get this experience and we couldn’t be more grateful to Mark Lindop for this amazing opportunity.”

Mark Andrews, Vice Principal Gravesend Campus said “This is a truly inspiring opportunity for our students to gain both life and work experience, whilst helping create a school and a better future for youngsters in South Africa. We’re extremely grateful to Mellon Educate and especially to Mark Lindop for providing the funding for our 3 students, who probably would not be able to afford to volunteer for this life-changing trip.” 
Should you wish to donate to this very worthy cause, all details are available on the North Kent College website.

If you would like to donate to support this amazing project, then please visit one of the Just Giving pages that our staff and students have set up below. Money given goes straight to Mellon Educate.

We are also looking for any support in the form of note books, pencils, crayons, etc that can be donated to the school projects whilst out there. If you would like to donate any materials then please contact

See for further details.

Go on – make a difference!