A FAMILY from Northiam have played a key role in building and opening a school in West Africa.
For the past seven years Tracy, Paul, and their children Charlotte and Matthew Barnett have been travelling out to West Africa with friends working with a number of charities on various projects. They have personally sponsored young adults to develop an education, skill or start a business.
In November 2010 they formed and registered a charity, and jointly with the trustees raised £16,000.
In November 2011, the charity invited 34 volunteers to travel out with them to help build a much needed nursery school and sanitation block.
Prior to that, children as young as three would have had to walk a six mile round trip each day in order to get an education. Many local people from Rye, Bodiam, Iden, Northiam and Salehurst together with friends form further afield were among the 34 travelling out, and another group trip is booked in for November this year.
Each volunteer pays for their own travel and accommodation, ensuring every penny raised is spent on materials to finish the school and toilet block, and for further projects planned in the village. The Trustees were delighted and proud when the school opened on February 14 this year with 100 children. All were given a uniform, a pencil case and note book upon registration.
Tracy Barnett said: “We have recently partnered Favour Preparatory Nursery School in The Gambia with Claremont School of which the Claremont Senior School Make A Difference team have already began a fund raising strategy to help raise the much needed funds.
“We look forward to developing the relationship and friendship between our charity and the two schools so that everyone involved benefits, and more importantly the children can enhance their understanding of the different cultures and learn from each other.
“BACE (Building and Assisting Communities with Education) is a small charity aiding children in The Gambia to enter the education system. This is done through a variety of ways, by providing learning materials to established schools, as well as developing new schools in areas where they do not currently exist.
“We are currently raising money for a borehole and a generator so the children can have fresh water to drink, start a garden to grow their own vegetables’, as well as have better hygiene facilities.
“If you think you may be able to help please call Tracy Barnett on 01797 253869 or if you wish to make a donation or find out more about the charity, please visit our website www.bace-home.org.