Blog
03.3.18

We Are Building School No.2 in Africa in 2018

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HERE’S TO A NEW PROJECT THIS YEAR!

It is 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 two 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, 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 as a public speaker. The words just flew through my lips effortlessly. 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 built because of other people’s dreams.

Everything was built because of one person, Karamo Fatty, a local who went to the school there when he was little. He 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 too!

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

We stopped, at random, some two hours from the seaside.

Everything was peaceful. Kids playing in the sand and laughing – and there we were, two 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.

Someone promised they would build a school for the local community four 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 hoping 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 achieved.

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

The team has already started to take shape since last year and we have so far 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 our 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 than 25% of your donation then we can claim Gift Aid, which is 25% of your donation. For every donation of £1,000, we receive 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 kindly.

Please click here to reach our JustGiving page.

And if you’re wondering, “Why Gambia?”, then please have a look at the photo album  that I created during my travels in the Gambia. It is a truly beautiful country with loving people and amazing natural reserves. Click here for the photos and book your flights! I am taking you on holiday.

Global Seven News

Elena Edwards