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 Grand Prix Charity 2007

Jali Lower School - The Gambia

Bob Alderson, HPRC member, writes:


HPRC have adopted The Jali Lower School in The Gambia as the charity for this year’s Grand Prix. The Jali Lower School is supported by Radcliffe on Trent Lions, and as their secretary, I wrote to your committee seeking your support - which I am delighted to say has been successful.

Jali is situated about 100 miles from the Banjul, the capital of The Gambia. The roads to the village are very poor and the journey takes about 5 hours by Land Rover. The Government provides the school buildings but very little else, so in effect the villagers have to fund everything else themselves. Given the average wage of about £20 per month this means that, left to its own devices, the school would lack even the most basic educational tools. There are currently 205 pupils in the 6 - 11 age range, an increase from 60 in 2000.

We became aware of The Jali School through Rod Pickard, a work colleague of our treasurer. He had been taking an interest in the school for some years as a result of taking a holiday In The Gambia. On that visit he made the effort to see what the real country was like away from the tourist areas. What he saw made him determined to make a difference to this school and as he was retiring from work he made his retirement project the development of facilities for the villagers in any way that he could from his own limited resources.

He has since made regular trips to Jali and has worked with the school’s Head Teacher to assess priorities and, using his own money, has purchased books and other essentials and delivered them personally to the school.

He has helped the villagers with the acquisition of goats and hens for the school as well as helping to improve the productivity of the school garden. The goats are for breeding purposes and goats can fetch up to £20 bringing much needed income. The eggs and produce from the garden enhance the children’s diet and some is sold to the villagers and reinvested in the school.

Radcliffe Lions have already provided money for the purchase of books as text books were in short supply and the school had no library. The investment of even modest sums can make a big difference to a school like Jali.

Rod and the Head Teacher have drawn up a development plan to further enhance the teaching and learning opportunities which the school can provide to the pupils and to the wider community. Among the proposals are to:

• Create an annual maintenance fund, to create a nursery class for young children
• to provide better accommodation for the staff (they live in the school in term time in primitive accommodation, sleeping on the floor),
• investigate the provision of solar power ( they have no electricity)
• provide a ‘multi purpose’ sports ground for both school and community use. It is this latter which I asked HPRC to support.

The cost of all these developments is modest and limited to materials only. All labour will be provided by the villagers themselves. The total cost of the sports development is £1,700 and Jali will be delighted with whatever HPRC can provide out of the income from the Grand Prix. On their behalf - many thanks.