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Posted: 02/07/10

Students' aid for Gambian fund

A bumper donation of money raised by kind-hearted West Nottinghamshire College students was presented by tutors yesterday to support a Gambian aid project.

A cheque for £700 was presented to Derbyshire couple, Geoffrey and Julie Henson who run the Jokadu District Development Fund, by travel and tourism tutors Sarah Heeley and Sam Haywood after their students spent many months of fundraising for the Henson’s charity which has helped to build a health clinic and two nursery schools in Gambia’s Jokadu District.

It was in 1996 that the couple first became involved with The Gambia, when they were asked if they could help to provide materials and support for the construction and development of a nursery school.  From that visit their commitment, to help the Gambians to help themselves and to improve their lives, first began.

Back in 2009 West Nottinghamshire College’s year 2 BTEC travel and tourism students spent a week in The Gambia when they generously gave clothing, equipment, toys and stationery to disadvantaged children at a school in the city of Serekunda.

Prior to flying out to Africa, the group of eleven students collected over £1,000 worth of clothing, toys, equipment and gifts from friends, family and college staff to give to the needy pupils at the Kebba Jarjou Memorial Nursery School in Serekunda, which caters for three to eight year olds.

Tutor Sarah Heeley said: “The money raised by our students has come from sheer hard work and a real desire to help these poor communities and having heard about Geoff and Julie’s charity to help build a clinic and nurseries, the learners wanted to carry on with their good work and help raise money for the Henson’s charity.

“Geoff and Julie were absolutely over the moon with the cheque and we’ll be keeping in touch with them to find out how the charity progresses and hopefully get involved with future fundraising initiatives.”