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 Project Gambia: People Feeding People

Project Gambia: People Feeding People is a Scottish Charity which functions to support St. John’s School for the Deaf in Serrekunda, in the West African state of The Gambia. We now also support St. Patrick’s Lower Basic School and St. Joseph’s Nursery School in The Gambia. The Gambia is one of Africa’s poorest countries, ranking 173rd out of 188 countries in the U.N. Development Programme’s 2016 Statistics for Human Development. 

When a group of parishioners from Holy Family in Mossend and St. John the Baptist in Uddingston first visited the school in 2012, we were shocked to find that the only food St. John’s had for the children was half a bag of rice, a bag of onions & some oil. After walking around the school and meeting the children, it was decided that something had to be done. The Depute Head Teacher of the school, Mary-Ann, said that it was a blessing that we came when we did, at the time when the school needed our help the most.

When we began supporting the schools, the initial focus was the feeding programme. For the past 4 years, we have been able to raise enough funds to give every child in St. John’s a hot and nutritious meal every day that they attend school, thereby attracting them towards attending school and improving their focus and concentration. Now, we are also able to support the schools in other ways. Some of these are highlighted below:

School bag appeal – we have been able to give every child in the schools a school bag packed with the essentials that they need in order to attend school, including stationary, educational material, oral care and bodycare products.

New School Uniforms – it has been possible to give every child in the schools new school uniforms. We decided to allocate funds to do this due to the fact that the children were previously coming to school in nothing but rags and were in desperate need of proper clothing.

Hearing Aids – through a recent partnership with the NHS, over 1,500 hearing aids have been delivered, benefiting both the children in the school and the neighbouring Deaf community.

Mr. Iyer and his Medical Team visited the school in 2019 to investigate potential ways of improving the hearing capabilities of the children.

School Bus – In November of 2017, a brand new school bus was delivered to the school, allowing children to travel safely to and from school.

Rosary Beads – Thanks to the Catenian association we have been able to deliver over 1,000 Rosary beads which were blessed by Fr. Michael Kane parish priest of St. Augustine’s in Coatbridge.

Become a VOLUNTEER

As Project Gambia: People Feeding People is ran entirely by volunteers, we are always in great need of additional volunteers to support our fundraising efforts. If you are interested in volunteering with us, regardless of how much time you can commit, please click the link below!

St. John’s School for the Deaf

St. John’s School for the Deaf is ran by the Catholic Diocese of Banjul in The Gambia. The school is one of the only schools for Deaf children in the entire country, making it difficult for many Deaf children in The Gambia to attend school. For the children at the school, life in Africa is particularly difficult – with their parents having little to no knowledge on how to communicate with them or understand them. This made the initial decision to begin support this school an easy one, conscious that the prevalence of Charities in The Gambia was much lower than in some other African countries. By attracting the pupils to school, Project Gambia offers them an opportunity to have a proper education. This, as well as providing a route out of poverty, has empowered, enabled, encouraged, facilitated, supported and inspired young people, while also giving them hope.

Before we began to support the school, the school had little over 200 children suffering from deafness, hearing impairment and other additional support needs attending school everyday. Now, thanks to our supporters, fast-forward 7 years later we have been able to ensure that over 350 children are attending school every day, receiving a hot meal every day that they do.

Fundraising for Project Gambia

From before the inception of the charity, Paul Lafferty, living in Bellshill (Motherwell Diocese) and a popular DJ playing Soul, Funk, Jazz and other genres of ‘black’ music, was involved in promoting soul music events. These events, which became devoted to fundraising for the Project, soon began to attract large crowds from all over the world – featuring some of the biggest acts in Britain. As this continued, Paul and Frank Devine (Holy Family in Mossend) attracted a number of dedicated and inspirational people around them who wanted to support their efforts in The Gambia. Rebecca Lafferty and Aidan Curivan (St. John the Baptist, Uddingston) were two individuals these events who had demonstrated a desire to help the Project in a larger capacity. Lynne MacDonald now also regularly fundraises for the charity.

The origins of Project Gambia are proudly in the Catholic faith of the volunteers of the West of Scotland who formed the Charity – and now regularly fundraise to support it.

Project Gambia now fundraises in a variety of different ways to help the children in St. John’s, St. Patrick’s and St. Joseph’s – spearheaded by our Fundraising Team Leaders, Aidan Curivan and Rebecca Lafferty. These Are primarily appeals in local Catholic parishes. We also receive support from schools and nurseries, as well as the fundraising support we receive from local companies and communities, and our “Sponsor a Classroom appeal”. For more information on this, please visit our page on How we Fundraise.

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