A TEAM of 18 students from Grace Academy, Solihull, have transformed the lives of two Mexican families in need by building houses for them from scratch, with only hand tools in just 11 days.
The Solihull students joined ranks with five other UK secondary schools, including Grace Academies in Coventry and Darlaston, to build two houses next door to each other – keeping the two families together from the Los Llanos community in Tijuana.
Prior to the transformation, both families were living in poor conditions without electricity, running water, a refrigerator, a car or telephone.
The new houses measure at 11 feet by 22 feet featuring a concrete foundation and stucci-finished exterior.
The students each raised £1,495 themselves to fund the trip.
Courtney Cassells, Grace Academy student, said: “I was not very confident and didn’t have many friends but now I have gained so much confidence and friendships.
“I am more determined than ever to achieve what I need to.”
Dave Boden, Assistant Principal for Ethos and Student Life at Grace Academy, said: “Build Hope is an incredible opportunity for young people to travel overseas and actively engage in making a positive difference.
“The students spend two weeks building a house that changes a family’s life forever.
“Through this act of generosity, the young people not only experience a new culture but discover new depths to their own character, as well as gain a fresh perspective on life.”