The charity called W.Y.C.E [Wonder Years Centre of Excellence] was started after a visit by Hilary and Keith Walker to the Gambia in West Africa in 2001 where they came across a community of refugees from neighbouring countries who were basically destitute and receiving virtually no help from the Gambian Government .
Over the next 15 years this Walsall based charity has helped establish a thriving school, a health clinic a visitor centre, as well as helping to establish several income generating businesses [e.g. bee farm, cycle business, block making factory etc ] for the local people.
Whilst the local children are very keen on football, to a community that still lives largely in mud huts, and has no electricity or running water, the purchase of football boots is a low priority, and consequently many play in barefeet. Fine for a kickabout, but now no longer allowed in school matches!
The late Rotarian Tom Farmer through his contacts with local grass roots football organised a collection of football boots from the junior leagues in Telford and these were presented to Steve Evans by his son, Gary Farmer on Friday 31st July.
The boots will be taken to the village of Medina Salaam in November. Steve Evans of the Rotary Club of Ironbridge is taking a party of 12 Rotarians and Inner Wheelers [including a past district Governor ] to the complex for a couple of weeks where it is hoped to refurbish and redecorate several of the classrooms. In addition funds will be provided to pay for an additional 6 toilets, the installation of 14 proper windows, the fees for 7 teachers to attend teacher training college for a year, additional garden tools, and possible a pump in the village. The team also hope to have time to see a few of the local cultural sites and visit the local Rotary clubs.
The photograph shows from left; Rotarian Steve Evans receiving football boots from Gary Farmer and President Peter Seaward of the Rotary Club of Wellington.