Solihull students, just returned from a volunteer trip to a school in Gambia, have raised more than £8,000 to support the project.
The Sixth Form College pupils volunteered at the Jungkung Jemous Memorial Nursery and Lower Basic School in Abuko, where they spent every morning for a week teaching the children.
Student Elyse Cook, aged 18 and from Hall Green, said: “I loved every minute of this trip. The most memorable part was watching the children’s face light up when we walked in to the school and when we gave them simple things like pens, pencils, crayons and paper, stuff we take for granted, and how much they treasured it.
“This experience has made me so much more humble and appreciative of everything I have.”
The activities the students took part in included singing, colouring, word and picture matching and football.
Rory Hayes, aged 17 and also from Hall Green, added: “The trip has made me appreciate just how much I have and how little others do.
“It has made me more aware of poverty around the world and has made me appreciate what I have and how lucky I am.”
Staff and students spent several months fundraising for the trip and collecting items to take to the children in Gambia, including books, toys and clothes.
The project was set up by Peter Evans from Hamstead Hall School, in Handsworth Wood, who also went on the trip.
He has worked for many years to fundraise and build the nursery school in The Gambia from the ground up, so that children in this very deprived region can receive an education. Vice principal of the Sixth Form College, Janice Hamilton, said: “Staff and students have worked hard all year to raise money for this school and this trip was the final part of a project nine months in the making.
“The students benefited from this wonderful experience, as they learnt not only valuable skills from teaching at the school, but also from their fundraising efforts.
“All the money we raised will go to the Jungkung Jemous Memorial Nursery and Lower Basic School. They need help to pay their teachers, who have classes of 50-60 kids each, as well as funds to build more classrooms, as there is still a waiting list of children who are not currently going to school at all because there is not space for them.
“If our fundraising has helped even a small amount, we have achieved something really worthwhile.”
As well as working at the school, the students also experienced Gambian dancing and visited a local medical centre.