THOUSANDS of books that were collected by Darwen schoolchildren before lockdown are finally on their way to the children of The Gambia. 

A total of 6,397 books were donated by the children of Ashleigh, Avondale, Belmont, Belthorn, St Barnabas, St Cuthbert’s, St Edward’s and Sudell primary schools.
Darwen Rotary’s international chairman Les Frankish said that in recent years Darwen has had a number of connections with the African country of The Gambia, stemming from a link with a sporting charity and resulting in an official twinning with the town of Lamin in Banjul, the country’s capital.

He said: “Last year Darwen Rotary was able to send more than 2,300 books to help the country’s education sector, with more than a quarter going to Tendaba School in the central district that has a ten year connection with a Darwen resident.”

The Gambia is an English-speaking country and many schools, especially those in remote areas, have benefited from the books that people who have donated to the country in West Africa.

They have all been sent directly or through the country’s mobile library but still some schools have no books at all, or very few. 

Les said: “So, this year we have tried harder and have more than doubled the number of books we were able to send as a result of asking children in Darwen primary schools to donate a second-hand book, they had already read, on World Book Day which was Thursday, March 5.”

The books handed in by RotaKids from each of the schools are now on their way to Banjul.

RotaKids is a fun and exciting way for children aged 7-12 to make friends and get involved with important activities in the community, all while having a great time in the process.

RotaKids clubs are based in schools, youth groups or community centres and with the help and support from teachers, youth leaders and the local Rotary club, children can gain a valuable experience in helping others and learning interesting, new things.

Les added: “A big thank you to all of you with special thanks to RotaKids who made everything happen in their schools. A special thank you also to the Northern Box and Packaging Company of Darwen who supplied all the boxes free of charge on both occasions.”

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