Back in my teaching days, I was fortunate to be introduced to Andrew Butler who, along with his wife runs the charity Northampton Trustee Fund: a charity which offers a helping hand to the people in the village of Penyem in The Gambia. They raise funds to improve the medical facilities as well as finding sponsors for the children to attend schools. My daughter Caitlin was seven when I first met Andy, and we were found a girl of a similar age to sponsor, so that she could have some frame of reference and be able to relate to her. Although, I have never been so good at writing letters, we have had regular reports of how her schooling has been doing as well as the occasional photo and letter. It has been lovely to keep in touch with her and her family and watch her progress, and it has been a humbling experience for Caitlin being able to see, if only from distance so far, a culture so different to her own.
I do have a tendency to impulsiveness, so when an opportunity came to join the charity on a visit to the village, I had already signed myself and Caitlin up for it, before really giving it much thought! (Redheads and heat don’t go too well together!) Luckily, my daughter was very excited by the idea, and the school have authorised the visit, so we can go with a clear conscience!
We are both looking forward to the visit and finally getting to meet our sponsored child and her family as well as getting to learn more about their lifestyle and culture, although the heat is my greatest worry. As most redheads know, we can get sunburnt on an overcast day! Big floppy hat and factor 1000 at the ready!
To further support the charity, for all sales placed before Christmas 2015, £2 will be donated to NTF. Just to give you an idea of what money buys: £1 will feed a family of four for a day. £5 buys a mosquito net and £10 buys rice for a large family that will feed them for two to three weeks.
I am sure that for both of us it will be a n incredible experience, and I look forward to writing about it when we return!
To find out more about Northampton Trustee Fund and the work they do, or find out more about sponsoring a child, visit http://northamptontrusteefund.co.uk/