Project organisers Frank Devine, of Motherwell, and Paul Lafferty, from Bellshill, will head back to Gambia this November having organised a ‘Sponsor a Classroom’ appeal. The appeal will provide a nutritious meal for the pupils of Saint John’s School for the Deaf in Serrekunda, which is the only school for children with hearing disabilities in the poverty-stricken state.
Friends Paul and Frank have already built a feeding kitchen for children in a rural school in Mpalapata in Malawi, which feeds over 300 every day. However the pair began to explore the possibilities of working with a school which operated a feeding programme for pupils.
Paul explained: “Last November when Frank and I arrived at Saint John’s, they only had a solitary bag of rice and one tube of tomato paste in the school storeroom; this to feed a school with over 250 children.
“Fortunately we did not arrive at Saint John’s empty-handed as we had been fundraising for months beforehand and, with the support of friends in Scotland, arrived at the school in an old coach crammed full of food.
“This year we want to donate even more and are appealing for people to help us.” Paul and Frank will be joined on this year’s aid mission by Glasgow optician Hugh Ross who has taken a keen interest in their African fundraisers over the past number of years.
Hugh said: “While I understand that the primary focus is on Saint John’s, there is a school adjacent to Saint John’s which is for partially-sighted children and we would like to investigate whether we could assist this school as well.”
Historically, children with disabilities in many developing countries can be the subjects of discrimination, stigma, and sometimes worse, on account of there often being little understanding of the nature of their condition.
Paul continued: “Frank and I just thought ‘keep it simple’ and raise as much money as we can among our friends and supporters in Scotland, and take the money direct to Gambia and buy the food for the school ourselves, thus ensuring that all monies raised goes directly towards the children in Africa who really need our support.”
Anyone who wants to help with their fundraising efforts can contact them via ‘Gambia Project’ and ‘Scottish Soul, Funk and Jazz Society’ on Facebook
Scottish Daily Record]]>