A TEAM of generous Solihull students have returned home from the Gambian nursery for which they have raised over £11,000 this year.
The group of 30 students from The Sixth Form College have been fundraising for the Abuko Nursery and Lower Basic School, near Banjul, in The Gambia.
They spent a week in the West African nation, travelling to the school every morning to teach the four to six-year-old children.
Used to rote learning in classes of 50 to 60 students to every teacher, the pupils welcomed the singing, colouring and games they played with the Solihull teenagers.
Erin Hitchcock, who went on the trip, said: “Seeing all of the hard work we’d done in the build up to the trip paying off was amazing.
“The children were so happy and the refurbishments had already begun before we left. It was an experience I will never forget.”
Fellow team Gambia member, Evan Bradbury, said: ““Learning about the Gambian culture and seeing the incredibly different infrastructure of the country was eye-opening. I feel like our efforts have really made a difference to the children’s lives and it makes me very happy to have been a part of it.”
This project was set up by Peter Evans from Hamstead Hall School in Handsworth Wood, North Birmingham, who built the Gambian school from the ground up and worked for years to fundraise for the disadvantaged children who attend it.
This is the seventh year that the Sixth Form College have participated in the project, bringing the total amount raised to more than £60,000.
Vice Principal Janice Hamilton said: “The students worked really hard in the build-up to the trip, raising money for the nursery and I’m really proud of their efforts.
“All the money we have raised in the last seven years, more than £60,000 in total, benefits the Abuko Nursery School and community.
“Since we joined the project, we have funded the building of six classrooms.
“As the school has a waiting list, this means we have helped to ensure more children can get a life-changing education and it is humbling to think that we have played a small part in improving their lives.
“This year we have focused specifically on improving the water and sanitation facilities.”
As well as working at the school, there was time for the students to experience more of the local environment and culture.
They visited the mangrove swamps, the Bijalo monkey sanctuary, bartered at Serrakunda fish and textiles market and visited the National Assembly building in Banjul.