These school holidays one Te Awamutu College student wasn't spending her time at the beach or with friends and family. Instead she was helping to build an orphanage in Nepal.
Year 12 student Megan Stanbridge recently spent four weeks in Nepal with International Team Missions and 15 others to help build a new orphanage in a small town called Urlabari.
Megan heard of the opportunity through her youth group at the Te Awamutu Baptist Church and said it was a no brainer that she'd go on the trip.
"Since I was little I've always wanted to help the wider community and help as many people as I can, so when this opportunity came up I took it and now I really have a passion for it," said Megan.
The orphanage they went to had seven children who all lost their parents or caregivers in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015, killing 9000 and leaving many children without parents.
"When we arrived they were all waiting outside and they all ran up to us and hugged us. These were kids who didn't even know us but they were all so ecstatic to see us. It was amazing," said Megan.
The group built the first floor of the new orphanage and their tasks included clearing rocks and dirt, assembling scaffolding with bamboo and wood, unbending steel for the roof, brick laying and concreting.
Megan says most of their materials were delivered to them on a push bike and some delivery delays meant the build was rather jumbled.
"We kind of did everything in a backwards order or did parts of the roof and then parts of the walls because we didn't always have the right materials delivered on time," said Megan.
Megan says living in Nepal in the current orphanage was an experience. They had limited electricity, used buckets to shower and had to go up four flights of stairs to use a flushing toilet – that eventually became blocked, she said.
All-women team puts new roof on elderly units
Nurse volunteers in Samoan measles epidemic
Light therapy healing wildlife in Australia
"At one point we ran out of water and had to pump green pond water if we wanted to shower, most of us didn't shower for at least a week," said Megan.
They also had no mobile or internet connection and could only write letters home to their families, Megan's mum Lisa is still receiving letters.
The group was away for Christmas and New Year and Megan also celebrated her 16th birthday while in Nepal.
In what was good timing, Megan was able to put the tools down and spend her birthday sightseeing.
They spent the morning doing a jungle elephant ride before heading back to Kathmandu where they then spent another three days sightseeing before starting their journey home.
"In the morning all the leaders threw balloons at me and a Nepalese tradition is to slather the birthday person in cake, so yeah that happened," said Megan.
Before getting home the group spent four days in Australia to reflect on the trip. They also spent 10 days in Australia before the trip preparing.
Megan is already in the midst of planning her next volunteer trip and hopes to travel to South Africa in December to help make uniforms for school children and teach the locals how to harvest crops.
In two years, another group will travel to Urlabari to build the second floor of the orphanage.