Wednesday 28th May 2008 by C. Freeman
Brooke Weston has received an update about ongoing charity work in the Gambia that the College has supported through fund-raising. Kettering couple, Brian and June Cox run The Educational Project, which provides food, clothing and necessities to many people, as well as undertaking bigger projects like building schools and reinstating water supplies.
Brooke Weston has supported the Coxes' work for several years, firstly donating unwanted football kit to teams in Africa, and then holding fund-raising events and mufti days. Most recently students ran a 'Fair Trade' market in College and money raised was donated to The Educational Project. In their latest message, Brian and June outlined the progress made on several projects, but also the increasing hardship faced by many due to rising food prices.
A borehole has been dug at Jambour so the villagers can access clean water and the school building is finished and is being painted. Fruit trees have already been planted in the grounds of the teacher's accommodation which is currently being built. Once the school is finished the teacher will receive a consignment of chickens, as well as a dog for security.
The standpipe planned for Sanchaba village has been installed and another school at Bakoteh has also been supplied with water. The teacher's house there has had a toilet and shower fitted and there are plans to get electricity into the building as well.
Unfortunately the rising exchange rate and increasing price of rice has meant that many in The Gambia are struggling. The couple wrote: 'The money rate and big rises in costs are our biggest problem. The £1 was 52.2 dalasi last year, now it's only 36.6 dalasi. Rice prices were £15, are now £25 and going up to £30! It is the very poor that will suffer the most. They won't be able to buy any rice so the money raised at the student market will go towards rice as we are not able to help as many really poor families as we had hoped to this year.'
They added: 'We saw one really poor family with lots of children. Some had to sleep on the floor on rags, we gave them rice and other foods, clothes and money. We intend to buy mattresses and look after them as best we can but know there are many more like them. We just wish we could help more, it makes us cry to see such poverty.'