CHILDREN in Gambia are desperately in need of sponsors to ensure they can get an education – and a teacher at the Bishop Heber High School in Malpas is actively involved in a project to help them.
Maxine Beech, who teaches sociology and RE, is a trustee for Gambia Education and Teaching Support (GETS), and she visited the Sunrise Centre, the school the charity runs, during half-term.
Maxine got involved with the charity after going to Gambia on holiday in 2009 with her husband, and they met a man called Adam Glynn.
Maxine said: “His father, Francis, had set up the initial charity, which later turned into Gambia Education and Teaching support.
“The Glynn family are originally from Whitchurch and Adam went to the Heber. I've been involved ever since.
“We currently have eight students who are having real hardships and cannot afford fees.
“Last year I took a group of 10 sixth-form students to Gambia to visit the school. They raised an amazing £3,500, which we used to finish building four new classrooms. We now need to raise money to furnish them ready for September.”
The school caters for more than 200 students and plans 140 more places when the classrooms are finished.
It costs £10 per month to pay for a child’s education – and any contributor would be the sole sponsor of the child.
The aim of GETS is to enhance the life chances of Gambian children through education, whether it be through individual or collective sponsorship, supporting teacher training or the provision of first class educational accommodation and resources at low cost to families.
GETS hopes that individuals, families or organisations will consider sponsoring a class to help them raise vital funds for the school.
The charity is asking people to consider sponsoring one of the classes for £5 per month.
Sponsors can choose to support a nursery (aged 4-6) , primary (aged 6-10) or vocational skills class (aged 18-25), and will receive a welcome pack, mounted photo and termly updates on the progress of their class.
“The difference with this scheme is that it is small scale, and so it's very interactive,” added Maxine.
“We have trustees who volunteer year round in Gambia, so we’re in daily contact with the children you are supporting. If you want to ask a question or send a message or a photo to your class, we actively encourage that.”
There is also the chance for classes in UK schools to sponsor a class, and the charity has produced lesson resources to help students learn about life in Africa.
To find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.getsuk.org for information about the charity.