The Someone Else’s Shoes blog
In March 2014 I am travelling to an impoverished village in The Gambia to see how donations of aid from the UK can make a real difference to people’s lives.
My suitcase will mainly be packed with second hand shoes, which will be given to needy Gambian women. Also coming with me will be hundreds of minature teddy bears, football shirts, bags, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, pens and pencils to give to families in a village called Bonsa. Basically, you name it, I’m taking it! I’m hoping that I will have a little room left for a pair of shorts, a T-shirt or two and some flip flops for myself!
I will be travelling with a group of 22 volunteers from the UK, with a charity called BACE (Building and Assisting Communities with Education), who have already built a school in the village and who will soon be opening a health clinic there too.
Although not quite finished word has already spread about the new health clinic and young and old have already received treatment there. When fully open it will give many people the kind of medical support which could prevent minor ailments from becoming fatal. It will also be a clean and safe environment for women to give birth.
My trip to The Gambia has been funded by the benenden hospital trust and benenden health, who run a scheme for employees once a year, for personal and professional development, which is called the Lord Plant Travelling Fellowship. Both myself and benenden hospital nurse Charlotte Barnett were successful in our applications to the fund. Once in The Gambia Charlotte will be treating those in need and providing training to Gambian nurses.
benenden hospital, in Kent, has given much equipment to help get the new health clinic get off the ground. At the end of last year BACE sent a shipping container of aid from the UK to The Gambia, packed full of aid destined for the village of Bonsa. Inside this container were beds, screens, bandages, plasters, surgical packs, furniture, toys, 1,000 miniature teddy bears and 500 pens all donated by benenden hospital, which regularly sends redundant equipment to developing countries.
Hospital staff donated items including soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, colouring books, pencils and chalks. benenden health and the York City Football Club donated footballs and football shirts and benenden health staff donated items including blankets and clothing.
From the Gambia I will see first hand how these donations help and I’ll be blogging about it daily.
For more information about BACE visit www.bacecharity.org.uk
Jane Barlow, PR Executive, benenden hospital