AN organisation which has helped to educate 250,000 children is celebrating its 20th year.
The Wulugu Project, cofounded by Sunderland-born Lynne Symonds, helps to make schooling possible for children in Ghana, one of the poorest parts of the world.
The charity, which relies on donations to fund its work, has a staff of unpaid Ghanian volunteers which carries out the project.
Lynne, who attended school at Chester Road and Bede, and has been made chief of three of the biggest tribes in Africa since starting the charity with Karimu Nachina, a head teacher from Ghana.
“We are one of the most experienced providers of vocational schooling in the inaccessible and hostile region we work in,” she said.
“And to celebrate our anniversary year, we have just been told that we have funding to build our seventh school. This will bring hundreds back from slavery.
“We are also just completing another junior high school. We need these as primary schooling ends at 14 and leaves girls without any qualification.
“We can build schools at a quarter of the price others pay, as locals work with us.”
The number of children that The Wulugu Project has helped still comes as a surprise to Lynne.
“It is astonishing,” she said. “We have been consistently turned down by the big funders, but we have carried on because we believe that the communities we work with deserve better lives.”
Lynne, who says her “greatest honour” is an honorary degree which she received from Sunderland University, said she is great to residents of her native Wearside for helping to keep the project going.
“Many people from Sunderland support us with regular donations,” she said. “And, this is partly why we are so successful.”