A week before Christmas 26 young people and their youth workers from Brighton went to Gambia to visit a local school and hospital. The 2010 trip was run by Sussex Central YMCA in partnership with Brighton City College.
Brighton students with pupils from Kafuta Lower Basic School A group of students, workers and volunteers from Sussex Central YMCA
delivered a range of sporting activities and donated some much needed
equipment to the pupils at Kafuta Lower Basic School in Gambia. The
school children were taught how to play football, cricket, frisbee and
also got involved in multi skills activities. The students and staff
members from Brighton City College together with pupils and teachers
from Gambia built goals for the football field, shelves for the school
library and hung doors in the school building.
Building shelves for the school libaryThe trip not only benefited the school in Gambia but also gave many of the young people from Brighton a life changing experience. Some of them have been excluded from school numerous times but after spending just seven days in Africa and witnessing people’s lifestyle they have changed beyond recognition. Yolandi Taylor who is a Sports Development Manager at Sussex Central YMCA and also the organiser of the Gambia trip said: “It is amazing to see the changes in these young people. They have come back more mature and with a changed attitude towards life and their education. After returning I have received emails from surprised parents and teachers who can not believe the changes they have seen."
Visisting Royal Victoria teaching hospitalThe group also visited two children’s wards at the Royal Victoria teaching hospital in the capital Banjul. It was a breathtaking experience for the young Britons seeing the overcrowded hospital with each bed being shared by two children. This was Kirsty’s first trip to Gambia and she found herself overwhelmed by how people appreciate everything they have and get on with their lives despite the hardships. “Going to the hospital was such an eye opener for me. To see all the sick children who don’t have much but are still smiling and happy.” Brighton visitors gave toys and clothes to the children in the hospital, which were much appreciated by the children and their parents.
After coming back from Africa all of the Sussex Central YMCA Key Stage 4 students have decided to sponsor a child in Gambia for a year. Only £10 will pay for a school uniform, books and school meals. “The school was unbelievable. I loved it so much and I wish I could sponsor all of them but I am glad I can change one boy’s life,” said Jazz, Key Stage 4 student who went to Gambia for the first time.
Seeing the obstacles and hardships school children face in Gambia the Brighton students can really appreciate the opportunities they have back here in the UK. When asked what was the biggest eye opener, Jazz said: “The biggest thing was walking around Gambia and seeing their life style. It's so harsh out there and the school is quite basic. Now I really want to go back to college and do well.”