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Kington Langley dance charity aids Gambian school
4:00pm Wednesday 6th March 2013 in News
A Kington Langley charity has “cha-cha-cha-ed” its way to bringing solar-powered lighting to Gambian schoolchildren.
Dance2Learn had already funded the supply of water and electricity to Jamisa Lower Basic School in Brikama, since it was set up five years ago.
Now its Latin dance events and lessons in and around Foxham have raised enough for solar lights to be awarded to the best-performing students in Brikama.
Co-director Mei Catherall, 48, said the school was a rarity in having electricity. “Not even the mayor has electricity at home, he lives with 13 other family members in one room,” he said.
“So none of the kids can do their schoolwork after dark. The lights give off 16 hours of light and will be given out at a prizegiving evening to reward those who work hardest in English, maths, science and agriculture.”
He and co-director Lucy Ibbetson, 19, travelled out there this year thanks to sponsorship from tour company Gambian Experience, and took gifts of stationery and mosquito nets.
“We always go out there to give them the money directly. We never use the charity money to travel,” said Mr Catherall.
“Every time we go back it’s lovely.
“They feel honoured that we show an interest.”
Miss Ibbetson cut her feet performing a manic salsa to pounding Juju rhythms. But she went on to give a dance lesson in a hotel the next night, which raised £25.
Mr Catherall said though small in our terms, this is enough money to feed 10 orphans for a month in Gambia.
They filmed the fun and vibrancy of the local people for a promotional film expected to be out in a couple of weeks, which will include Miss Ibbetson dancing ‘Gangnam style’ between two fully grown crocodiles, plus Sunkary Badji, chairman of Brikama Council, removing his sunglasses to say to the camera: “Gambian man style!”
The Dance2Learn charity is funded by doing party starters and running Salsa Source, Latin dance lessons at Foxham reading rooms on Tuesdays. Mr Catherall would like to extend these to Chippenham and asks anyone interested in attending or volunteering to let him know on 07841 775351.
He said: “We also aim to bring local communities together through dance and good old-fashioned socials.”