A TWENTY two year old nurse from Northiam will be taking on the highest peak in North Africa to raise funds for the charity she helped to found.
Charlotte Barnett will be one of 16 people climbing Mount Toubkal, in Morocco, in August – a challenging hike taking her to a height of 4,167 metres.
The challenge will see her climbing for around eight hours a day, over a five day period.
The group will be raising money for the charity BACE - Building and Assisting Communities with Education.
BACE is a charity which was formed in the UK two and a half years ago by Charlotte and her family, which now has fund-raisers, volunteers and supporters all over the country.
Its aim is to help children in rural areas of The Gambia access the education system. This is achieved through providing learning materials to established schools and the development and support of new schools in areas where they do not currently exist.
In February 2012 the charity opened the Favour Preparatory Nursery School in the village of Bonsa in the South West of The Gambia, which now educates more than 110 children, aged three to seven years.
In November this year the charity is intending to build a health clinic in the village. This will be aimed at health promotion, but will also be used to treat minor conditions.
Benenden hospital, at Cranbrook, Kent, has provided help towards the project .
Charlotte said: “The hospital has donated old equipment, old observation machines and even old furniture and wheelchairs which are no longer used here, but could make a world of difference in The Gambia. The hospital has been very helpful.”
Charlotte visits The Gambia regularly. Her last trip there was just a few weeks ago when she worked alongside other volunteers to finish and decorate a staff accommodation block at the Favour school. She said: “Often people from the village ask me for medical help, with simple things such as blisters and ulcers. On my last trip there was a young boy whose leg had been burnt and the skin had become infected.
“I cleaned and dressed the wound for him every day and by the time I left it was completely better. If this infection had been left it could eventually have led to amputation.”
Charlotte’s work in The Gambia dates right back to 2005, when she was just 13. It all began when her mother spotted a newspaper advert asking for volunteers to help build a school. The pair of them went on the trip and have been returning to the country ever since. Charlotte said: “My mum asked me if I wanted to go and I said yes, although I had no idea what to expect. But I just got stuck in and I loved it.”
To find out more about BACE visit: http://bace-home.org/. To support Charlotte’s climb in August visit her fund-raising page at: http://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/mttoubkal2013.