Sunderland schoolchildren head to Gambia

Farringdon Community Sports College students in partnershop with The Box Youth Project are to travel to the Gambia and are raising money for the project. They are pictured here during a fund - raising meeting.
Farringdon Community Sports College students in partnershop with The Box Youth Project are to travel to the Gambia and are raising money for the project. They are pictured here during a fund - raising meeting.
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TWENTY-SEVEN students are gearing up for the trip of lifetime to a remote village in Gambia.

Farringdon Community Sports College has joined forces with members of Sunderland’s Youth Box Project to organise the two-week visit, but it won’t be a holiday.

Denise Barna, a member of the Box Project, which is based at Hall Farm, who is helping to organise the trip, said the Year 10 and 11 pupils had to put their names forward to be part of the group.

She said: “They had to apply saying why they wanted to go and had to go through an interview process, and a panel of people picked the ones who could go, so every one of them has earned their place.”

While in Gambia the team will stay at the Gunjur Project site, in chalets on a compound.

Denise, who took a team of young people to the centre last year, said that while there they will be taking part in community projects, including helping to refurbish a school, joining in with the Act Now scheme to help widows and orphans and also working in the community gardens where the locals grow produce to feed themselves.

She said: “This year we are also collecting to send a crate out filled with educational items for the school such as pens, pencils and paper.”

She added: “We will also be sending over clothes and shoes for the orphaned children.”

Denise said the women who work in the community gardens don’t have tools, they just have to use bare hands, so the Wearside group is also hoping to provide them with some tools.

The Farringdon youngsters will also work with Gambian teenagers, and each evening there will be cultural workshops so they can learn more about each other and different lifestyles.

Denise said: “There won’t be any sightseeing – it is not a holiday for them.”

Howard Kemp, headteacher at the Allendale Road school, said: “This is such a fantastic opportunity for our young people.”

The school has even cleared out an old caretaker’s office for the group to use as a base while they collect items and fund-raise for the trip.

Anyone who has any educational item or shoes and clothes for the children they would like to donate, should contact Denise on 522 5031 or the school on 553 6013.

Twitter: @sunderlandecho