Sunderland youngsters help rebuild storm-hit building in Gambia

Rapper Baby B  and sone of the children he is recording a song with at The Bunker, Stockton Road, Sunderland.
Rapper Baby B and sone of the children he is recording a song with at The Bunker, Stockton Road, Sunderland.
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WEARSIDE volunteers have packed a container full of goods to help them rebuild an African school.

The 10-strong team, from Sunderland’s Box Youth Project, will travel to Gambia in December to replace a roof and decorate and furnish six classrooms which have been out of action at the Gunjur Upper Basic School since the building was hit by a storm.

The club’s link with the school is now in its third year. The latest effort came after a visit last year, when they saw how 1,800 pupils were crammed in to the remaining 15 rooms.

Each of the 17 to 20-year-olds has raised £1,150 to cover their travel and accommodation costs for the two-week visit, which starts on December 8.

They have also raised a further £6,000 to spend on supplies once out there.

The 10 have met once a week for the last year as they prepare for their visit and this week worked alongside the project’s leaders and staff from Gentoo as they packed a 40ft-long container full of goods, which has been shipped out.

They, along with students from the school, will be at the side of the port as it is unloaded in Gambia and moved on to the site.

The box holds stationary, furniture and teaching resources, which have been collected after an appeal. The housing company and primary and secondary schools in Sunderland, including Farringdon, have supported their appeal.

The container is also packed with shoes and clothes which will go to Gambian orphans as part of the youth group’s work with a charity.

Denise Barna, a youth development worker at the project in Hall Farm Road, said: “We took a group of 20 there last year and we just saw how desperate their are for resources.

“We identified this project then, and the response has been just fantastic.

“The volunteers have been meeting every Wednesday for a year to prepare and now they’re just dying to get out there.”

The group will be blogging as members diary their trip and is continuing to collect funds.

Anyone who would like more information can contact the project on 522 5031.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham