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 25 students raising £13,500 for the school in 2023 to purchase furniture for three classrooms, repair furniture for three more classrooms and pay for a brand new printer, first aid and sports equipment and money left to repaint the perimeter walls. Students then travelling to The Gambia to work with the children at the school in November 2023. 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 2023 Team raised £13,500!
Overall, we have raised more than £73,500, 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 2023, we want to do it all over again in 2024! Unfortunately during the pandemic the trip was on hold, but it resumed in 2023 and even when we were not able to visit, with the money raised by students in 2019 we were 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 2023 and at the end of 2024, 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 2023:
Hana Mian commented:
“Working in the school was my favourite experience on the trip. I have never felt that my time was being so well spent as when we were doing activities with the kids.”
Luke Scudamore said:
“I really enjoyed the friendliness and how direct the locals were in The Gambia. I learnt patience and understanding from working with the children, as well as developing time management skills.”
Faith Lovell added:
“I learnt during my fundraising to never put a limit on myself and that resilience can really take you anywhere. I also learnt adaptability, as I had to change my activities to suit younger ages and compensate for the language barrier we encountered.”
Check out more photos of the most recent trip.