Back in June 2017, Paula Howells The Founder, becames passionate about wanting to help more. She felt in her heart that we needed to reach out and educate more children and help more families. The only way possible was to have an extra classroom to enable another 40 children to attend school. She shared with Trustees her vision, and was amazed at the support received. Paula asked for an estimated build price, and was informed that a Gambian style school could be built for around £25,000, (excluding land). We as a charity felt this was within our grasp, and could be achievable, through hard work and fundraising. Paula Howells, started earnestly on a mission, and felt that this dream could and would become a reality. We need 250 businesses to each give £100.00 donation. By February 2018, £2000 had been raised, but thanks to an amazing donation of £6000.00 this dream was coming true. On the April 2018 trip over, the team were shown a piece of land 33m x 26m which was away from flood land. After much negiotaton the land was purchased, and by the time the team returned back to the UK, the land had been transferred into the school name. Now the hard work starts. Our aim is to try our very best to build the school by April 2020, when our agreement with Tallinding school comes to an end.
Our land has been secured by a wall. Each block was handmade, as per the photos below. The wall has been rendered thanks to a kind donation. Gates have been purchased by a sponsor, and have been put into position.
As the monsoon season is approaching, it was bought to our attention that the septic tank should be installed before the water level rises. Thanks again to an amazing donation, which came at perfect timing, we have had a septic tank hand made. Which is now complete.
The plans have all been drawn up and finalised. We will be having a three classroom school, which will hold up to 135 children. There will be an office, and aid storage room, plus a security office. There will be adequate toilet and wash facilities within the grounds. THE PLANS HAVE BEEN PASSED AND STAMPED FROM THE PLANNING OFFICE.
THE LAND IS BIG ENOUGH TO MORE ROOMS IN THE FUTURE.
In November 2018, our build co-ordinator/Trustee had many meetings, with a builder. The land has been fully cleared, and is ready to start digging the foundations. We have accepted a build quotation of £31,000 to build the school, to a very high standard. There will be 3 septic tanks made, and the price includes European toilets and wash facilities. Each classroom will
accommodate 40 children.
8TH MARCH 2019 - We have raised £8100 to start the foundations. All the money has been sent across, and the foundations are being dug and constructed, and pillars are being installed. We estimate that the foundations will be completed in 5 weeks time, ready for team April 2019 to visit.
5th April 2019 - The foundations are fully completed, and to a very high standard.
Our next phase is to raise £13,500 to put up the walls and roof.
Can we say a huge thank you to all the wonderful people who have bought bricks, done fundraising events, and a special thanks to Concord College, students and staff for your huge support, and the Shrewsbury Rotary for a wonderful £700 donation.
DREAMS CAN COME TRUE. Thanks for believing in us.
After much amazing support and holding small fundraising events, we managed to get the school building up to roof height. It was a fantastic experience to stand on the ground and see as a team of Trustees such amazing progress, the results of all our hard fundraising efforts from so many kind and generous people. At this point we felt there was a glimmer of hope at the end and this vision and dream could possibly become a reality. Thank you to the hard work of the Ebo Town men, who have worked hard under extreme heat and conditions.
After a further generous donation from Concord College, we were able to send money over to have the roof put onto the build, this happened in February 2020, we as Trustees then decided to use some of our surplus finances to seal the school build and puot in the windows and doors. It was an emotional experience in March 2020, when two trustees enrolled our new children at the new school build, and welcomed families to see what is happening in the community. Kaylee Nicholls and Paula Howells, enrolled 26 children for our September 2020 school year. It was such a humbling experience as we sat in one of the classrooms which we may add are huge, with the wind blowing through the windows in cool surrounds. Special moments.
Back in 2019, as Thomas Cook Airlines closed its doors, we were in the process of putting in an application for a grant, to complete our school build totally. We realised that we may get £20,00/£200 or if we were blessed £1000,00 never expecting to receive anything more. We got the application in after the Thomas Cook closure, and had approx 15 mins to spare before the web page closed. We never heard anything and realised we had lots of hard work ahead of us to get the school completed. As Trustees we spoke about moving into the school, without painting and with the basics around us. Out of the blue during lockdown due to Covid 19, Paula Howells, received a phone call from Thomas Cook Childrens Charity, saying that we had been awarded the full grant money we had applied for. The tears rolled, tears of shock and total happiness, with the realisation that DREAMS DO AND HAVE COME TRUE. We can not only complete our school fully, we are erecting another 2 buildings one kitchen, and one caretakers house/storeroom, we will have tiles in all toilet blocks and staff quarter from floor to ceiling, we will have fans, showers, and to top it off, we can have new furniture to equip the classrooms. What a gift, what a legacy Thomas Cook Children Charity have left. Words can't thank them enough. Thank you to all who made the decision to grant us this gift and believing in us and our work we are doing.
On this note: Lock down has eased slightly in The Gambia, June 2020, and builders are ready to pick up their tools and start working. Money has been sent to get the staff quarter and offices built to roof height and the roof to be put onto that block, plastering is being done inside the school block.
ESTIMATED TIME OF COMPLETION IS FOR OUR NEW SCHOOL YEAR SEPTEMBER 2020.