Two new classrooms up and running thanks to the efforts of Stevenage volunteers

The team of volunteers with the children and staff from the school in Kassa Kunda

The team of volunteers with the children and staff from the school in Kassa Kunda - Credit: Archant

A volunteer team of staff and sixth formers from Stevenage’s Marriotts School has returned from a life-changing trip to help children in the West African country of The Gambia.

The team decoratedbt the new classrooms

The team decoratedbt the new classrooms - Credit: Archant

The Gambia Project, which works in partnership with the school, has been working in the settlements of Kassa Kunda and Mandinari since 2015.

The team has raised funds for two new classrooms at the community school in Kassa Kunda and during a week-long visit earlier this month, the team decorated and helped equip the classrooms which replace dilapidated mud huts.

They also helped ensure that a daily feeding programme set up last year to help ensure school pupils are getting a nutritious diet – is still functioning well.

The volunteers were pleased to see measurements given by a health visitor show the children are growing and getting stronger thanks to the nutrition scheme.

Attendance has vastly improved at the school

Attendance has vastly improved at the school - Credit: Archant


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Project Gambia trustee Jamie Drackford who leads the team, said attendance at the school has improved and there are 30 new students attending.

Sickness has fallen and is now hardly heard of and truancy ius now much lower.

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Jay said: “Students’ grades at the school have improved and instead of worrying about how they will eat, their concentration is much better and they can focus for longer.

“We need to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been donating monthly through our website. We now have the proof this is working and helping the children.

Travelling to the Gambia was a moving experience for the volunteers

Travelling to the Gambia was a moving experience for the volunteers - Credit: Archant

“The students on the trip were simply amazing. We laughed, worked and all cried together out there.”

The project collects donations through its website and a series of fundraising initiatives.

Last year the team shipped out supplies including 100 pairs of shoes and the year before, the core team of four visited schools in Mandinari, armed with 500 pencil cases.

The project was started by Jamie who used to visit The Gambia on holiday and decided it was time to take action.

Plans are already being made for a visit to The Gambia in 2018

Plans are already being made for a visit to The Gambia in 2018 - Credit: Archant

You can find our more about the project by visiting facebook.com/marriottsgambiaproject/, or go to gambiaproject.co.uk for information and to donate.

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