Students’ trip to Africa was ‘life-changing’

Ilkeston sixth-form students with children in The Gambia after playing football and sports.
Ilkeston sixth-form students with children in The Gambia after playing football and sports.

Ilkeston sixth-former Oliver Kibble, 18, has written this first hand account of a ‘life-changing’ fundraising trip to Africa.

The Every Last Drop Foundation has been supporting education in Africa since 2009 and since then the money raised has repaired school buildings, covered teachers’ wages, improved facilities and provided equipment to ensure that children in Africa have access to an education.

Students from Sir Dembo's Nursery School.

Students from Sir Dembo's Nursery School.

This year has seen the second group of sixth form students from Kirk Hallam Community Technology College and Ormiston Ilkeston Academy visit Gambia to see how their support has benefitted Sir Dembo’s Nursery and Primary School.

The 12 students, along with two teachers, arrived on Tuesday February 5.

The students had packed a variety of items for the schoolchildren, including arts and crafts equipment, medicine, and mosquito nets, along with sports equipment and football shirts, generously donated by Hull City FC.

When they arrived at the school they were welcomed by the students who sang to them, which was a special moment for everyone on the trip.

Ilkeston sixth-formers on a trip to see the results of their fundraising in THe Gambia.

Ilkeston sixth-formers on a trip to see the results of their fundraising in THe Gambia.

They then met teachers including the headteacher. It was clear to see how the Every Last Drop Foundation had benefitted the school and the students saw how it had progressed from the photos which they had seen.

Along with the work which had been completed it was apparent that there was still a lot of work to be done, including replacing tables and chairs and improving the outdoor areas.

The sixth-formers used their arts and crafts materials to organise activities for the children to take part in; they decorated frisbees with stickers, used colouring books with paint and crayons and enjoyed drawing images on paper with pencils and felt tips which we had taken there as many had never experienced using them before.

The students then had the opportunity to visit Kachically which was a museum about Gambia and there was also a crocodile pool, containing over one hundred crocodiles, where they had the opportunity to have a picture with one.

The next day the students visited Sir Dembo’s Primary School which was only a short walk away from the nursery. The pupils had just moved into this building and it was a larger complex which could accommodate more students.

It was interesting to see how some of the lessons were taught and to be welcomed by these students too. This school site is only rented and therefore we saw the importance of ensuring that it could be kept open for future students.

After discussing the situation of the schools with the headteacher we found out what needed to be done to keep the schools open and we learnt that the numbers of pupils had doubled in the nursery school to almost 200. He expected another 200 students to attend the primary school this year, which shows how our fundraising has benefitted the school.

The school has also employed new teachers who were admired by the children and fully enjoyed working at the school. Our ongoing support of the school’s expenditure should ensure that they will be able to stay at the school and continue teaching.

All the students involved believed that it was a memorable and life-changing experience for them and that they will be much more appreciative of what they have themselves.

Now that they have returned back to England they are all looking to continue to promote the Every Last Drop Charity in every way possible to continue to fundraise for the school.

They are hoping that local people in Ilkeston and surrounding areas will support them to help secure the vital funding which the school needs.