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  • Writer's pictureElena Edwards

WE ARE BUILDING SCHOOL NO.2 IN AFRICA IN 2018

HERE IT IS TO A NEW PROJECT THIS YEAR!

It is January 2018 and I am so excited to embark on a new venture this year, building school No.2 in the Gambia with a group of amazing people who I've met over the past couple of years, since I built School No.1.



CHRISTMAS IN AFRICA ...

I spent Christmas time in the Gambia, checking on the first school, meeting the teachers and the children and generally getting into the mood of continuing what I started 2 years ago. When I built the first school, I thought that was it, school built, job done! But no, it didn't end there.

I've never felt such emotions as I felt when I saw the school for the very first time, the children singing, and parents hugging me, and all the smiley faces in the village. My heart fed from all their hearts. It grew so big that I thought it was going to explode. Nothing that I've done in my life until then prepared me for what I experienced that day.

I remember the local village council asking me to do a speech at the opening ceremony. A speech? I've never spoke in public before! But I did it. It was to be my first ever public speaking event in my career of public speaker. The words just flew through my lips effortless. It was so easy to speak about one's dream. Not even my dream. The first school wasn't built because of my dream. It was build because of other peoples' dream.

Everything was built because of one person, Karamo Fatty, a local who went to the school there when he was little and has tried tirelessly all his adult life to bring tourists to the area in the hope that they would support the building of a new school in the village that was going to replace the old one, which was infested with termites at the time I met him.

I admired his tenacity and drive. If someone can fight for others for so long and never give up then this person had to be the leader of the African team who built the school. 

We have built a great friendship together and we've developed common dreams. If you ask him what is his biggest dream he would answer "to build 100 schools in Africa, before I die".

Hey, that's my dream :)!

Last Christmas, we drove far away from the sandy beaches and the pretty tourists' areas to the far away land, and the poorest parts of the Gambia. 

We stopped, at random, some 2 hours far away from the seaside.

Everything was peaceful. Kids playing in the sand and laughing and there we were, 2 white people (my son and I) asking them about their life. Luckily we had Karamo with us, to facilitate the dialogue. To my surprise, one of the older children was fluent in English. I was in shock. How was it possible for someone like him to be fluent in English in the middle of nowhere. If you scroll through the pictures attached to this blog, you can see his kitchen, his home, and his bedroom.

The warm welcome we received from these people was contagious. And again, I felt my heart feeding from their hearts. I turned around to Karamo and told him "this is it, we don't need to drive any further, I fell in love with these people". His reply was "me, too".

You will see in the pictures bellow the land and half of a brick wall. Someone promised they would build a school for them 4 years ago but they never did.

TIME TO GET THE DREAM TEAM TOGETHER AND START FUNDRAISING!

I am planning for a budget of £20,000 to allow not just for the building of the school but also for the building of the kitchen and the toilets.

The school will be very close to the main road so everyone who drives through that part of the Gambia would be able to see it. I am hopping that they will stop by and see everything that we are going to do for this community. 

The way I would like to fund-raise for the building of this school is through tourism.

I want people to travel with me to the Gambia and see where their money went and what they've done.

I am looking for a team of 20 people who can each raise £1,000 between now and end of May 2018 but also commit to come to the Gambia with me, in November, to cut the ribbon together. 

The team has already started to take shape last year and we have already raised £6,000.

£14,000 TO GO!

We can absolutely do it, I can feel it.

I CAN SEE THE RIBBONS IN THE AIR, OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL!

We receive funds via JustGiving page. The JustGiving page will keep 5% of your donation and also charges us an account maintenance on a monthly basis. If you'd like to make a large sum donation, we would like you to transfer the money directly into our charity bank account. If you are a UK tax payer and you are paying tax on your income of a value greater that 25% of your donation then we can claim Gift Aid on your donation, which is 25% of your donation. For every donation of £1,000, we received Gift Aid to the value of £250. There is a form that you need to fill in for us to be able to put this claim through to HMRC. Please contact me via email at elena@elenaedwards.com for more information. Thank you.

Please click here to reach our JustGiving page. 

If you ever wonder why Gambia then please have a look at this photo-album that I created during my travels in the Gambia. It is a beautiful country with loving people and amazing natural reserves. Click here for the photos and book your flights. I am taking you on holiday :)!




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