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Staff make a donation to Gambian school.

Posted on 1 May 2015 03:23 PM by Winte2S

An education is sometimes taken for granted, so it’s humbling to visit an African school where kids see it as their way out of poverty.

I’ve just returned from my latest trip to a school I support in Gambia where conditions and facilities are basic, but the hunger to learn is strong. Sir Dembo’s Primary School, in Wellingara, is a school where UK Power Networks has recently helped make a difference to the lives of young people who simply want the same chance that every child deserves – to fulfil their potential.

Supportive colleagues
Five years ago while on holiday with my wife Leanne, a headteacher in Sussex, we began supporting a school in Wellingara, West Africa. We’ve been back seven times since then and together with funds raised by my colleagues, plus match funding from UK Power Networks, we’ve just donated £640 for further much-needed improvements at the school.

I’m a surveyor at UK Power Networks, Maidstone, working in the department that organises electricity connections for street lighting, signposts, belisha beacons, CCTV and telephone kiosks. My 16 colleagues have been really supportive of our fund raising efforts for the school. Initially they raised money for tables and chairs and when they saw the pictures of the school when I returned home they kept donating.

Making a difference
The playground at Sir Dembo’s Primary School is a dusty yard, classrooms are stark and uninviting and money was needed to buy the bare necessities such as chairs and tables. We know what a difference our donation will make so it was an exciting journey from the comforts of our hotel along dusty and pot-holed roads to the school.

Although it was the Easter holidays we were greeted by the headteacher, Hassan Kamara, and a welcome party of teachers, students and parents. We were overwhelmed that the children and teachers had come to the school for our visit. A teacher led the children in songs and rhymes which were so moving it brought tears to our eyes. They sang their ABCs, recited capital cities and songs of daily life with animated actions.

The head of the school committee said a few words which made us all laugh and invited some parents to say something which was translated from their language Mandinka to English. We then gave the headteacher our company cheque from my work colleagues and UK Power Networks which produced a round of applause.

With a favourable exchange rate this amounted to a considerable amount of Gambian Dalasis. The headteacher plans to use the money to make tangible improvements at the school which will help the children gain a good start in life.

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