Team Gambia is a volunteering project, which raises money or the Abuko Nursery and Lower Basic School near Banjul. The latest incarnation of this project saw 30 students raising £12,000 for the school in 2019 to improve the water and sanitation at the school and then travelling to The Gambia to work with the children at the school in November 2019. Highlights of how they got on are in the video below.
The school was built thanks to the hard work and fundraising of Hamstead Hall School in Handsworth Wood. Peter Evans at Hamstead Hall School started the project about nine years ago and Solihull Sixth Form College joined the project in 2013 for the first time. It is now an annual venture for the College, to support the outstanding work that Peter Evans has started.
In December 2013, we travelled to The Gambia with Hamstead Hall School. We took 10 students and Hamstead Hall took 12 students. Since then, the project has grown and grown, with more students taking an interest each year and more money being raised.
Every student embarking on this trip is set a challenge to raise £400 each. With it costing just £375 to pay a teacher there for one year, this fundraising target will do real good for the school in The Gambia. There is currently a large waiting list of children who want to attend the school, but they do not have room for them, despite class sizes of 50-60 children in a class. The money we raise will help fund the construction of two new classrooms to fill that demand. Staff and students will work together over the 9-10 months leading up to the trip itself to raise as much money as we can for the school. The 2019 Team raised £12,000!
Overall, we have raised more than £60,000, but we still want to do more! Anyone who wishes to donate funds or materials (such as teaching materials, children’s clothing or raffle prizes for fundraising events), please call 0121 704 2581.
After the success of Team Gambia 2013, through to Team Gambia 2019, we want to do it all over again in 2023! Unfortunately during the pandemic the trip was on hold but with the money raised by students in 2019 we have been able to continue to pay the teachers, repair the school after storm damage in 2021 and replace the water pump which serves the entire community in Abuko in 2022. We will start recruiting students from Year 12 in December 2022 and at the end of 2023, we will fly to Banjul in The Gambia and teach the children at the Abuko Nursery and Lower Basic School again. We will also take supplies out to the school, including stationery, books, toys and clothes. There will also be an opportunity for students to see some of the culture in The Gambia, with several excursions planned.
Being a part of Team Gambia is a life enhancing opportunity! Just ask the students that were part of Team Gambia 2019:
Eva Billingham commented: “I loved spending time and playing with school children and also getting to meet the monkeys; I couldn’t believe how happy everyone was even though they had barely anything.”
Evan Bradbury added: “I liked discovering the country the most, learning about the Gambian culture and seeing the incredibly different infrastructure of the country. The impact of our visit on the school children and even where we stayed took me by surprise the most as our visit makes a huge difference to many people.”