A holiday in The Gambia some 20 years ago was the catalyst for the establishment of the Nyland Knight Foundation by local resident David Harmston and his wife Terri.
What began with the sponsorship of a single child has grown to the extent that the foundation now provides funding for 80 schoolchildren, and has expanded to pay for and manage a whole host of projects in the village of Kunkujang Keita in this small part of a forgotten Africa.
The Gambia is a poor country, and whilst the children in the village are not starving they are so poor they have no shoes and very few clothes, and the school system is not free which means many of the children will never get the opportunity for an education that can free them from the chains of poverty.
It was this fact that prompted David and Terri to become involved as the cost of putting a child through school is just 50 euros a year, a sum which, whilst less than the average round of golf here in Spain, is way beyond the means of most of the villagers.
For the first few years David and Terri sponsored one child, but a chance conversation in a hairdressers in Gibraltar led to a donation providing sponsorship for a further nine, and the Nyland Knight Foundation began to take shape.
Since those early days a number of people have come on board, including Deborah Ives who is extremely active and who was the driving force behind the establishing of a number of regular fundraising events, and who regularly visits the village to deliver donated items and to help oversee the purchases paid for by charity.
In fact one of the important tenets of the Nyland Knight Foundation is that all the money is spent on good works, with all expenses incurred paid for by the volunteers and organisers themselves.
As mentioned earlier the Foundation has expanded and now runs a number of projects including a cuts and bruises/small ailments clinic which treats around 600 children a year; a dental hygiene programme; malaria prevention programme; provides chickens and goats to promote self-sufficiency; runs the village football team; and so on.
Apart from individuals, a number of businesses and organisations provide support, including The Mayfair Academy which last year raised over 1,700 euros. The Pig and Whistle Pub in Gibraltar along with 888.com are also major contributors.
Nyland Knight Foundation has a whole list of projects for the future which you can find on their website www.nylandknight.com and on their facebook page www.facebook.com/groups/123783964396496 so if you would like to assist why not contact them via these sites and find out how you can help and make a real difference. Don’t forget every single penny goes to help the villagers.