Tuesday 6th January 2009 by C. Freeman
Money raised at the annual Christmas markets will help some of the poorest people in the Gambia. Mr Brian Cox who, along with his wife June, runs The Educational Project, have earmarked a cheque donation from Brooke Weston to help with ongoing needs in the Gambia.
So far they have built a nursery school, sunk boreholes and taps to supply fresh water and are training a teacher for the school. As well as these projects, which benefit whole communities, they also help individuals in need with food and essentials:
June said: 'We are helping a family that is really destitute. The father had a donkey and cart that he used to do little jobs with. He took it out one day and a lorry ran over the donkey and killed it, so we are going to buy him another one. There are ten in his family all sleeping in one room so we are also going to buy them bedding.'
She added: 'We asked who was the poorest in one village and were told of a family who were house-sitting for someone else as they hadn't got a home of their own. The grandma was sleeping on the floor so we bought them a bed. We don't just fund the school; it's nice to spread the money around to those who need it most.'
Brian and June visit the Gambia for five months each year to look at progress on their projects in the villages of Jambour, Sanchaba and Bakoteh. The nursery school, which they built in Jambour, has three classrooms and the teacher, Jawo, is currently undertaking a teacher training course. The school, which takes students aged from three to nine, educates around 40 or 50 students and Brian and June supply essentials such as pencils and exercise books.
The charity has also sunk a borehole at Jambour on the edge of the school site so villagers can have access to the water. At Sanchaba the well was contaminated so Unicef put a large water pipe in and The Educational Project has tapped into that, supplying two taps with a third one planned in the near future. They have already supplied a standpipe in Bakoteh.
Brian and June were impressed by the Year 10 students' fund-raising ideas. Brian, who received a cheque in an assembly at Brooke Weston said: 'We've got to congratulate the students on the Christmas market; they had really good ideas and we are very grateful for the money which will be put to very good use out in the Gambia.'
The Christmas markets raised £1001.80 while the mufti collection totalled a further £934.