Friday 21st July 2006 by C. Freeman
The school project in Gambia that Brooke Weston is helping to support is making good progress. The College donated over £ 2,500 to Brian and June Cox's project to build a primary school in the Gambian countryside. Already the building is taking shape with the foundations and first levels of concrete blocks erected, but it will still be a year before it is up and running.
The couple have been doing charity work in the Gambia for 16 years, taking out container-loads of clothes and resources to needy locals. They received Brooke Weston's cheque for £ 2,637.92 earlier this year and it has funded an ongoing project to fit clean water in the settlement of Sanchaba as well as funding building work on the school.
Bendring villages boys' team
One of the current projects involves a strip of land which provides access to the 40x43 square metre site. It is covered in tree roots and termite hills which need to be bulldozered so that men and materials can easily get to where they are needed.
There are great plans for the school garden in Jambour. Already the Coxes are intending to plant banana, cashew, papaya and mango trees, onions and tomatoes so the children have lessons in self-sufficiency as well as school grown produce to eat.
Local boys and labourers are employed to make concrete blocks at a cost of around 4p per block while two builders are paid £ 1 a day to construct the school. (As a comparison to UK costs, bread costs 8p per loaf).
Brian and June hope that the building should be completed to the roofline by the time they return in January 2007, and by this time next year the first class of children (aged between 2 and seven years) should be installed, using chairs donated by Brooke Weston. Initially there will be one class of 50 and one teacher but the couple aim that three classes and three teachers will gradually be recruited. Once the project is up and running it should self-perpetuate, with pupils educated at the school becoming teachers to tutor the next generation.
The project will start rolling but the hard part is getting it off the ground,' said Brian, 'everything depends on money.' Brian and June regularly update Brooke Weston vice principal, Trish Stringer, on their progress. This year they returned from the Gambia with photos of many children clad in donated Brooke Weston sports kit; the yellow and blue strip vivid in the clear African sunshine.