Local student trip to build school in Africa postponed due to COVID-19

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - UPDATE: The trip has since been postponed, due to concerns with the Coronavirus, according to BuildOn.

In June of 2020, 15 local students, mostly from Bishop Manogue Catholic High School, will travel to Malawi, Africa for 10 days to help build a brand new elementary school in a rural village. The community service trip is part of BuildOn, an international non-profit organization that runs youth service after-school programs in United States high schools and builds schools in developing countries.

Michael Schneider, a junior at Bishop Manogue is one of the students attending the trip. He says, "Every kid deserves to receive an education no matter their background, where they live, their wealth."

"We'll be working alongside the community to build the school that we have already fundraised for," Kaia Brown, a junior at Bishop Manogue said. Brown is also attending the trip to Malawi.

Students are required to fundraise a minimum of $2,000 for the trip. All money raised will go towards building supplies, airfare and in-country travel.

"We're really helping the community help themselves instead of just giving them a one-time donation of something," Brown adds, "We're trying to lift them up and help them empower themselves."

Along with the 15 students, two chaperones will attend the trip, including Leslie Righetti. She has worked with BuildOn multiple times, building elementary schools in Haiti, Senegal, Nicaragua and Nepal over the past several years.

"By doing this work, we are leaving behind something so incredible for these people that don't have access to education," Righetti said.

During the trip, students and chaperones will help build the school from scratch alongside members of the community and BuildOn staff. Once the trip is over, those community members and staff will continue to build the school until it is finished.

"We're not only enabling students to have education, but these schools that we build are also helping adults because at night, the schools are enabling adults to learn literacy and learn how to read," Righetti said.

Students and chaperones will stay with host families instead of hotels over the course of the trip.

BuildOn's mission is to empower U.S. urban youth to transform their neighborhoods and the world through intensive community service. Globally, it's constructing a new school every two days in some of the economically poorest countries around the world.

Students have organized a fundraiser for Northern Nevada to participate in to help collect enough money for the trip. If you purchase anything at the Qdoba Mexican Eats restaurant at 197 Damonte Ranch Pkwy. in Reno between 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, 2020, Qdoba will donate 20% of sales directly to the Bishop Manogue High School BuildOn Africa 2020 trip. You must bring the flyer voucher to the cashier upon making your purchase to receive credit for the fundraiser. The flyer is attached below.

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