Eight pupils from King Solomon High in Redbridge have made a “life changing” trip to Ukraine on World Jewish Relief’s first school mission.
They travelled to Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozhye, visiting Jewish community centres, an orphanage, school and Holocaust memorial. They also met locals in their homes.
The aim was to show the students the reality of Jewish life in the former Soviet Union, and to inspire them to become young WJR ambassadors.
Teacher Melanie Shutz, who accompanied the pupils, reported: “We were treated so beautifully and saw at first hand the renewal work that WJR are doing to bring Jewish life back to the area.”
Frankie Stanton, 16, said it had been “an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. We got to see what life is like out there for people our age. We take a lot for granted and don’t realise how lucky we are. People out there have nothing but still are happy. The trip taught me to appreciate things more.”
WJR fundraising head Paul Stein said: “We take groups of adults out on missions on a regular basis but it has been a long-term aim to expose a new audience to our work.
“King Solomon was an obvious choice, having been involved greatly with WJR in the past, supporting our Darfur appeal and our Gifts in Kind programme
“The trip gave participants a valuable opportunity to engage with our clients and peers. It really highlighted the challenges facing our extended family in the region and brought home to the group just how fortunate they are, living in such relative comfort.”