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    Students return from Borneo adventure

    Thirty-one students and staff from West Hatch High School spent four weeks taking part in a "life-changing experience" as they completed an expedition through the stunning surroundings of the jungles and wilderness of Borneo with Camps International.

    As well as taking part in a testing five-day, 23km jungle trek in the Bornean state of Sabah, the group - aptly named ‘Team Gouton’ which translates to Team Jungle - also had the opportunity to travel around the world’s largest island where they visited four main camps across the island which included Tinangol, Batu-Puteh and Bongkud. 

    Most notably the group also visited the world-renowned Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary where they met orphaned and injured orangutans before they are released back into the wild.

    The group also got involved in many local community projects on a daily basis such as teaching English to local primary school children, laying foundations for a community centre, manually tarmacking volleyball courts and the re-forestation of trees in the rainforest.

    The experience was co-ordinated by Camps International which organises ethical and
    sustainable school expeditions across Africa, Asia and South America. 

    The expeditions help students understand the day-to-day challenges rural communities face and sees them work on projects which transform communities.

    The visit also helped the locals overcome significant issues including access to clean water, education and housing, and increased students' self-worth and appreciation of the impact just one person can have on the world. 

    Year 13 student Angela Power-Healy said: "It was a life-changing experience that makes me appreciate everything so much more."

    Year 13 student Eleanor Yarwood described the trip as "the best adventure of a lifetime” while Harry Wagstaff, also a Year 13 student, said: "It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I made many new friendships and shared some great experience with great people."

    Group leader Ellen Scott said: "This expedition will stay with the pupils forever, with many unforgettable memories made.

    "They have challenged themselves every day and to know that as a school we have help to develop communities, planted over 200 trees back into the rainforest and survived in rainforest conditions is truly remarkable. 

    "We have definitely made a telling impact."