The Gambian Children is Fund is 10 years old this year.
To celebrate Sharon Jervis and her daughter Lucy Jervis
returned to the school that the charity has supported
all this time, to meet the new children attending the
school and the past students who have now moved on
to secondary school.
In ten years over 800 children have passed through
the school and gone on to further education to complete
their schooling.There was no school in the small village of Kunkujang 10 years ago other than two small,run down
breeze block buildings with 100 children in each room,
not conducive to delivering any level of education.
We are proud and immensely grateful to the Leicester
Grammar school and all the individuals who have helped
us over the past ten years to not only extend and improve
the school, but to have given 800 children an opportunity to receive an education which will have an affect on their lives
and the lives of their families.
So,10 years on and still going strong, is not really totally true,
we are 10 years on and even stronger in our commitment to the school, the children and their future opportunities. Of course,
it is an on-going commitment, every year the building needs
repairing following the unforgiving rainy season with high
winds and torrential rain.The blackboards all need repainting,the furniture needs replacing,the class rooms need painting the list goes on.

If you would like to help us celebrate this 10 year anniversary
and work towards achieving a further 10 years, either by making a donation,holding your own fundraising events or just interested in finding out more about our school project please contact either Sharon Jervis, Chair of the Gambian Children Fund at sharon@sharonjervis.com or Eileen Neelands Secretary of the charity on eileenneelands@yahoo.co.uk.
The finale of the recent visit was a day trip and picnic to a forest and then the beach.The children had never been to the seaside before let alone paddled in it! The pictures speak for them selves!we want to do for children in Gambia.We can not do anything without your support . Our belief is that every child
has a right to an education, every child has a right to food, every child has a right to hop, skip, jump, laugh and smile.
A child soon becomes an adult in Gambia, facing hardship
and poverty at every turn.

Contact Sharon or Lucy Jervis
on 01858 434492/ 07973439945
sharon@sharonjervis.com
Lucy's Visit

It took 10 years for my mum to get me to
Gambia. Time had never permitted, but
fate does as fate does, and timing was
now perfect. I felt very emotional as soon
as I saw the children, waving their mango
leaves and Sharon or Lucy flags.
The band was playing and the mums were
dancing, rhythmically as ever. They had
met us about a mile down from the
school, and the walk back up was a
glorious blur. Their genuine happiness
became mine, and the loving smiles
were contagious. The Smiling Coast of
West Africa is the sunshine for any darkness.
Impoverished, nothing but a smile, but there were plenty of those to go around.

Being a Primary School Teacher in England, I was nervous but eager to get into our Gambian classrooms. I remain impressed with how well the teachers cope with the lack of resources, state of the classrooms, and amount of pupils under their responsibility daily. The children are very well behaved and extremely eager to learn, despite the conditions being so very different to those of English classrooms where we fight to maintain our student attention with endless resources, creative ideas and advanced technology. Both the staff and students are like sponges, soaking up for the first time, and if we could instigate trips from
A-level or PGCE students,the benefits to both sides would be monumentally valuable.

The finale day of my week long trip to The Gambia summed things up completely. My mum and her friend funded a school trip for 41 children and 6 staff. We crammed onto a rented coach licensed for 30 and the first stop was a Wildlife Park, to show the children animals such as monkeys, lions, cheetahs, hyenas and eagles for the very first time. Continuing our day of firsts, we then took everyone to the Beach, to experience the sand and sea. Despite living only a 25 minute drive away, this was a first time experience for all. The staff were fearful of going in the water, and so the children mimicked this fear, so I ran in ahead of them, and minutes later all the children were down to the pants splashing about and consumed with laughter. This appreciation and joy was a far cry from that expressed on simply giving a lolly or a pen, and if you ever needed a look at our priorities and lists of givens here in England, this day would have clarified all you needed to see.

I came back rejuvenated, full of love, and ready to give back. They deserve it, they need it. More than anything we ever wish or desire. Will you be part of the mission?