Brufut Education Project update — July 2011

Back to London!!!

So our caravan of intrepid travellers is back from The Gambia, concluding our epic journey for 2011 in which twenty-five people traveled from London to Brufut to help build, equip, and run the Brufut Skills Centre!  We are very proud to be able to report that we achieved and surpassed all of our our targets for this year.  The experiences we had were challenging, inspiring, and transformative, leaving us with bold new visions for the year ahead.

But first, let us tell you about all the work we achieved this year after watching:

Our latest documentary!

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Please read on!

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From January to March 2011 we finished building the first floor of the school, added new toilets, built up the well, renovated the workshop spaces, and built a kids playground.  Our team mixed tons of cement by hand, worked the steel, and laid a fresh coat of paint over the entire grounds.  We worked hand in hand with the people of Brufut village, sharing and learning from each other throughout the process.  But as the grounds neared completion, we began the much bigger task of opening and operating the new Brufut Skills Centre!

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The process of organizing the curriculum and timetables arose from dialogue and discussion among the local community, focusing on trying to offer access to education and skills training that were lacking in the area.  The dynamism and creativity of our programs became a direct reflection of the amazing individuals involved in the project.

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We opened workshops for sewing, printing, computers, bicycles and carpentry, offering training and free access to materials, tools and space for women and men, boys and girls.  The sewing workshop was comprised of twelve sewing machines and headed by our sewing teacher Abdoulay Bah.  The space was open for  people to come and learn how to cut, sew, and design pieces; much of the work done was by local women coming to sew clothing for their children, but the team was also able to develop and produce a line of bags, pouches, jumpers, and hats from recycled materials (cloth & plastic).

The work was made all the more interesting by the collaboration with our amazing printshop that produced thousands of original prints under the artistic direction of Bati and Raul.

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The computer classes were run by Raf, offering day and night classes for both young and old.  Rico busied himself in the bike workshop, fixing up all our recycled and donated bicycles.

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The carpentry workshop grew out of the work that was happening on site, fixing roofs, building tables, benches, shelves and other bits.

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The tools and workshop space is open to people to use, and we are planning to begin production of bicycle powered water-pumps next year.  The workshops were exciting and creative places and we are looking to improve and increase all of them in the coming year.  Classes in Arabic and English are also offered, with a goal to helping achieve full adult literacy in the Gambia.

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The school is now open and run by our team of local teachers and administrators.  We are planning to return by caravan again next december 2011 and send another container in order to help the project continue to grow and prosper.  With your help we can change peoples’ lives by offering access to knowledge and tools that help people to empower themselves directly.

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