Vi­tal work to help Gam­bian chil­dren

Hamilton Advertiser - - NEWS - Leona Greenan

Aid work­ers from the La­nark­shire char­ity Project Gam­bia have re­turned from their most suc­cess­ful mis­sion ever in the poverty-stricken West African state.

Vol­un­teers Lynne Macdon­ald, Paul Laf­ferty, Frank Devine and Char­lie Docherty flew in to the cap­i­tal Ban­jul on Satur­day, No­vem­ber 3.

They had been rais­ing money all year to sup­port the 340 boys and girls who at­tend St John’s School for the Deaf in the town of Serekunda.

And an in­jec­tion of funds from their grand sum­mer ball let them de­liver more sup­port than they thought pos­si­ble.

Vol­un­teer and char­ity co-founder Frank Devine said: “We want to thank every­one who has do­nated to Project Gam­bia, thus en­sur­ing we are able to de­liver an en­hanced level of sup­port to the chil­dren, and we want to es­pe­cially men­tion the var­i­ous Catholic parishes in the West of Scot­land who have in­vited us into their churches, where we’ve been given the op­por­tu­nity to tell par­ish­ioners all about our work with these marginalised and dis­ad­van­taged chil­dren.

“They have all re­sponded to our ap­peals mag­nif­i­cently.”

The team were in­vited to a re­cep­tion held by Gabriel Mendy, the Bishop of Ban­jul, who thanked the char­ity on be­half of the peo­ple of Gam­bia for the sup­port they’ve pro­vided for the school chil­dren.

They also dis­trib­uted beau­ti­ful­ly­pat­terned blan­kets to some of the most needy fam­i­lies in Man­jai Town­ship, on the out­skirts of Serekunda.

Most im­por­tantly, they have se­cured the school feed­ing pro­gramme for 2018/2019, which en­sures ev­ery child a re­ceives a hot and nu­tri­tious meal ev­ery day, and de­liv­ered 340 new school uni­forms, which were grate­fully ac­cepted by the chil­dren, par­ents and teach­ers.

And the char­ity also pro­gressed their at­tempt to get Mo­hammed Cham – known as wee Alieu – to Scot­land for life-chang­ing med­i­cal treat­ment that might re­store his hear­ing. The eight-year-old was born with no ears and was due to fly from the West African na­tion in June to re­ceive a spe­cial im­plant at Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal Mon­k­lands, but was left bro­ken-hearted after his ap­pli­ca­tion for a tem­po­rary visa was blocked.

Project Gam­bia co-founder Paul Laf­ferty added: “We’re work­ing on and dis­cussing other in­ter­ven­tions that will en­hance the ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ences of the chil­dren in a num­ber of ways and we will be back at the school in March with new school bags crammed with es­sen­tial items for each of the 340 pupils.”

A wee char­ac­ter Mo­hammed was born with no ears but the char­ity are try­ing to set up surgery for him to have an im­plant in­serted at a Scot­tish

Aid work­ers Lynne Macdon­ald, Paul Laf­ferty, Frank Devine and Char­lie Docherty in Ser­rekunda, West Gam­bia

Lunch timethe pupils en­joy­ing their lunch

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