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Mattishall fundraiser's Gambian aid

PUBLISHED: 13:00 29 March 2010 | UPDATED: 15:49 07 July 2010

Kathryn Cross

Five teachers at a Gambian school now have the luxury of their own accommodation in the school grounds thanks to Mattishall fundraiser Janet Clark.

Mrs Clark, who set up the charity Gambian Aid Through Education (GATE) from her home, has been visiting the poorest regions in the country since 1999 and on her latest visit she was able to see the fruits of her most recent efforts.

Five teachers at a Gambian school now have the luxury of their own accommodation in the school grounds thanks to Mattishall fundraiser Janet Clark.

Mrs Clark, who set up the charity Gambian Aid Through Education (GATE) from her home, has been visiting the poorest regions in the country since 1999 and on her latest visit she was able to see the fruits of her most recent efforts.

The accommodation block at a secondary school in Bakadage cost just £3,000, paid for by events around Dereham including a sponsored reading of psalms in the town's Cowper Church.

Mrs Clark said it would encourage better teachers to the school and a better education for the children.

“In 2006 this was a failing school but during the time we have supplied them with stationery, teaching aids and sports equipment and provided them with seeds for their garden the school is now the best in the district,” she said. “They have doubled pupil numbers to over 200 and exam results have shot up. Parents now want to send their children to school because they see it as worthwhile.”

Mrs Clark supports five schools in total and has also raised money to buy 12 bicycles so children who live more than 10kms from school can use them rather than walk in the heat of the day, with temperatures sometimes topping 50 degrees centigrade.

During her last trip at the end of February Mrs Clark also delivered 150 mosquito nets which will help save hundreds of lives from malaria.

“One in five children dies in Africa from malaria and 90 percent contract it while asleep,” she said. “We can buy and deliver a mosquito net for £5 which we believe will protect five children for five years - it is the under-fives who are most at risk. When we delivered them to the village the chief had tears running down his face.”

Mrs Clark is now looking for willing volunteers to take part in a sponsored abseil at All Saints' Church in Mattishall on Saturday, June 19. Entry is £10 in advance and participants need to raise a minimum of £25 to take part. All the money raised will go to the mosquito net fund.

For more information contact Mrs Clark on 01362 858221.


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