BLAKE: GIVING HOPE THROUGH EDUCATION
Here at Blake, we are passionate about doing everything within our power to help the millions of children worldwide who suffer lives of poverty, neglect and hardship.
We feel that if we are going to make a difference to a child’s opportunity for social mobility, providing access to a good education will have the biggest impact. As something that we believe is vital for every child, a good education is capable of expanding horizons, developing life skills and opening up a whole new vista of opportunities to those who, without this chance, would have little hope in life.
And that’s exactly what we were seeking to do in The Gambia…
GIFTING THE HOPE OF A BRIGHTER FUTURE IN THE GAMBIA
The Gambia is a small country in West Africa with a population of 2.101 million population, almost half of which live in hardship and poverty.
One of the most deprived countries in the world, its economy is dominated largely by farming, fishing and tourism. Sadly The Gambia suffered terrible crop failures from severe droughts between 2011 and 2013 and, with over 60% of its citizens reliant on agriculture to make a living, this has left thousands struggling and with severe food shortages and malnutrition.
The country also has an alarmingly low literacy rate of only 55%. This is down to the fact that thousands of children are unable to attend school because their families can’t afford to pay school fees. Even the schools are in desperate need of essential learning equipment, meaning that those who are able to attend are not able to receive the quality of education that is so crucial to help them to pave their way to a brighter future.
And so Blake were happy to be able to step in and “Give Hope Through Education” with the help of our partner charity, School in a Bag.
WORKING ALONGSIDE SCHOOL IN A BAG AND SKOOLZ 4 KIDS
The School in a Bag charity has the mission of “Transforming Lives Through Education”, which mirrors very closely with our own. United in our passion for helping children in need and providing them with the learning resources they so desperately need to receive a good education and, ultimately, have the hope of a brighter future, we have been partners for over 3 years.
With their ingenious SchoolBag solution, which contains all the resources required for a child to learn for a year, the charity have succeeded in helping over 120,000 poor, orphan, vulnerable, disadvantaged and disaster affected children throughout the world. Here Luke Simon, Founder and CEO of School in a Bag shares his hopes for our partnership:
“One bag can change a child’s life, give them an education for their future and lift them out of poverty and hardship. So if we can do that, and multiply it through this partnership, we can be helping children forever.”
At the beginning of 2020, Blake were pleased to fund and assemble 600 SchoolBags, as well as collecting 622 pairs of shoes for underprivileged children at the Faraba Banta Lower Basic School in The Gambia, where we were assured that our donations would meet a very real need.
We then paired with our friends at School in a Bag to pack these donations, alongside a collection of schoolroom furniture donated by the School in a Bag team, into a container. This was then sent safely on the way to The Gambia. Once there, it would be taken care of by a Gambian charity Skoolz 4 Kids, who would oversee the distribution of these for us!
MISSION COMPLETE...AFTER UNEXPECTED DELAYS!
Despite the safe arrival of these resources in the country over 10 months ago, the world was in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and only now have The Gambia’s lockdown restrictions eased enough to allow any further action to take place.
And so, 12 long months of waiting in storage, we are thrilled to announce that these resources were finally distributed to their young recipients at the local Faraba Banta Lower Basic School last week!
The footage we received of the children’s reactions on receiving these supplies was truly heart-warming. Here is a message of thanks we received from one of the pupils:
“Thank you very much Blake Envelopes. We really appreciate the bags that you bring for us. The pupils of Faraba Banta Lower Basic School appreciate all the effort that you have done for us and we expect for you to continue helping us because we’ll be forever grateful to you. Thank you and may God bless you!”
Below is further positive feedback from one of the teachers at the school:
“Thank you very much, thank you for everyone, thank you for all effort. All of you and everyone, we are happy. My teachers are smiling, we are very happy about it. Thank you very much!”
After all the hard work and dedication which the Blake team as well as our partners at School in a Bag and Skoolz 4 Kids put into assembling and shipping the SchoolBags, not to mention the long and unexpected wait for lockdown restrictions to lift before the distribution could proceed, this in itself is all the response we could have wished for and more…
Here we have compiled some of the footage we received of the SchoolBag distribution in a short video. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Blake are so happy to have given this chance to these lovely children, and are incredibly grateful for the support of the wonderful School in a Bag and Skoolz 4 kids charities who enabled us to bring this project to life.
We look forward to sharing more Blake Foundation updates soon. Stay posted!