Family launch charity to aid African children

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A FAMILY from Northiam have been helping to make a difference in West Africa by launching a charoty to build a new school.

Tracy and Paul Barnett, and children Charlotte and Matthew have also been personally sponsoring young adults to develop an education, skill or start a business.

In November 2010 they registered a charity with friends and started to fund raise to build a new school for children who currently receive no education whatsoever.

The BACE (Building and Assisting Communities with Education) charity helps children in The Gambia enter the education system by providing learning materials to established schools, as well as developing new schools in areas where they do not currently exist.

In November this year, the charity will be building a nursery school in an undeveloped village, where the nearest school is six miles away.

Children as young as five would have to walk 12 miles in total each day in order to get an education.

Tracy said: “There are currently 450 families of which less than a quarter of the children receive any type of education, as it is just too far for them to walk each day.

“Many local people from Rye, Bodiam, Bexhill, Northiam, Salehurst together with friends form further afield will be amongst the 34 travelling out. Each volunteer has paid for their own travel and accommodation, ensuring every penny raised is spent on materials for the school.

“Since March the group has raised a staggering £10,000 which will help pay for the building, furniture and the cost of the uniforms for 100 children who will attend the school from January.

“However more money is required to help them support the school to fund their teacher’s wages for the first year as the aims of the school after year 1 is to manage the school from within the community, with the charity providing ongoing support and maintenance of the building.

“The cost of a qualified teacher is £800 per annum, the support teacher £535 and the caretaker who will live at the school £250 pa.”

If you can help in anyway or would like to sponsor a teacher for the year, call Tracy Barnett on 01797 253869 or if you wish to make a donation all the details about their charity can be found on

Tracy said: “Please help us make a difference.”