by SARAH ROBERTS

A group of Kiwi teenagers will never forget the New Year’s Eve they spent in a rural village in Laos.

The St Dominic’s Catholic College (Henderson) students were showered with gifts on the eve of 2018 for giving the gift of running water to the local school.

There are only six access points to running water in Luang Prabang. Just over 600 people live in the village made up of four different tribes, with two chiefs.

St Dominic’s assistant principal Michael Shui, who travelled with the group, said the community project was a great opportunity to learn about the school’s Catholic values.

“We gave these children a gift they will benefit from for the rest of their lives. It’s an everyday necessity our students just can’t imagine living without,” Mr Shui said.

“Some of the school’s values of [service to] others, showing integrity and listening and sharing with others with an open mind were experienced first-hand by the students.”

Seven years 10 and 11 St Dominic’s students, along with girls from New Plymouth Girls’ High School, embarked on a four week trip with World Challenge, an organisation providing experiences for secondary students to gain life skills.

“The students had a lot of preparation for the trip and had an appreciation of what they would experience. It was eating different food that was challenging for students at times,” Mr Shui said.

“There was a lot of rice and vegetables. Most of the students tried the dishes.”

Each student raised around $8000 each to cover their flights, food and accommodation. Students planned out transport, the community project, booked accommodation and even organised where they would eat every day.

There was time for relaxation along the trip, with an excursion to Hanoi to visit Halong Bay and the Sapa Valley trek.

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