Students, teachers and the bus driver from Portlaoise College recently returned from the secondary school's sixth annual trip to Gambia in Africa.
Sixteen transition year and fifth year students were joined by four teachers and the bus driver, on the unforgettable expedition to Brikama in late January.
The main aim of the trip was to provide funds to finance electricity for the Jamisa Yiriwa Nursery school. Not only will the school benefit from the electricity but also over 500 homes in the immediate community will be able to connect for electricity.
During their trip, the Laois team also painted the school, updated and repaired kitchen facilities, repainted a play area and donated three laptops and three overhead projectors along with many other educational materials to the school.
The African children and teachers at the school, which is a pre-school and primary school in the mornings and a secondary school in the afternoons, were said to be full of joy when they returned to school to see all the work that had been carried out by the Laois contingent.
The group also visited the local Brikama hospital donating equipment which included a blood pressure monitor. The doctor told the humanitarian team that if he had this the monitor day before that it could have saved a life and reassured that it will help to save thousands of lives in the future.
They also provided electricity for a school and hundreds of surrounding homes.
More than €24,000 was raised for the trip through a number of fundraising activities carried out by the college and its students throughout the previous 12 months. In total, €4,000 was raised for the electrification project.
The students were: Kamil Kowerczuk, Dylan Dunne Connolly, Jamie O'Callaghan, Illan Dunne, Norbert Jez, Iara Paz, Gyula Torok, Deirdre Cadogan, Aoife O’Neill, Magdalena Czerwik, Amber Dalton, James Maher, Caoimhe Skehan, Debbie Whelan, Emilly Aguiar, David McEvoy.
They were accompanied by Deputy Principal Keith McClearn and teachers Amanda Cripps, Fintan Walsh, Ciara Kennedy and bus driver/janitor Jimmy Palmer.
See the full article in next week’s Leinster Express.