On Monday 15th February at 1pm we closed the doors on the first shipping container and sent it on its way!
The 20ft container was literally crammed full of around 500 items of furniture including tables, chairs, stools, desks, cupboards, tray units, book shelves and filing cabinets. In addition to this we had, over the weekend, packed 100s of boxes of exercise books, stationery, art supplies, sports equipment, reading books, puppets, water bottles, school uniform and 3 bikes!
Some of the children at school had also written letters to the Gambian children and these were placed in amongst the furniture for the staff to find when the donations reach their destination.
We are now taking a little break before turning our minds to collecting yet more items ready for the July shipment.
The money you kindly donated has made all of this possible - Thank you!
After tracking the progress of our shipping container across the seas over the last couple of weeks, I was so excited to hear at the weekend that the items had made it safely to Banjul, through the port and to the first school - Yundum Barracks.
From here, the items were separated into those which had been identified for the three different schools, with the Headmaster of Kotukala coming to collect the donations for his school. He was reportedly VERY happy to receive all the chairs, tables, storage, books, stationery and sports equipment.
The final stage was getting the items to Kolior primary school which is much more rural (some 95 miles away from Yundum Barracks) For this, the charity representatives organised a lorry to transport the items to them. You can see from the images that this was indeed a fully-loaded lorry!
The letters our children wrote have also been gratefully received by the schools and all the headteachers have sent their delighted thanks to us.
Without your kind donations, this would not have been possible and our furniture would already be seeing out its final days in a UK landfill site. THANK YOU!
We are now turning our thoughts to shipment number 2. We have 5 classrooms worth of furniture to send in this next shipment and have already begun collecting donations of uniform and football kits ready to send in the spaces between the furniture. We will continue to source other donations of stationery, dental products and sports equipment too.
Thanks once again, on behalf of the receiving schools in The Gambia and our own here in Exeter, for getting behind this idea.