Volunteer’s Trip 2022: Day 2 (3rd October 2022)

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Visit to the school 

We met with the school teachers and some of the pupils. We did a tour of the school site to review the work that is underway. The first main project is the basketball court, sponsored by @richmondmotorgroup. We are also building a toilet facility for young girls. Finally, the classrooms were cleaned to get ready for the first day at school.

The work begins: The time has arrived!

The URBOND Volunteers, back in Dubreka, were ready to change lives forever – the time had truly finally arrived!!! First on the day’s agenda – a visit to the school site with a focusing on delivering workshops on menstruation, basic English (Guinea is a Francophone country), dental hygiene workshops (all those toothbrushes and toothpastes weren’t going to use themselves) and construction of sanitary facilities and a play area for the children. It was a day before the start of term but a 20 strong crowd of kids were on hand to greet the volunteers like all conquering heroes!! As the vehicle turned in the school premises a yellow building loomed large- this was the library and computer room ‘bibliotheque’ built only a year ago -it still had the feint hum of Kingsley now famed humour!!Legend has it parts of the building are held together by his sweat alone!!The large toilet facilities- another key component of the construction programme stood next to the bibliotheque construction on it having begun in August 2022.

The volunteers were taken on tour of the school site by Ousmane Drame URBOND’s CEO. Madame Toure joined the tour which began at the bibliotheque alongside IT teacher Sekou Sanoussy with star pupil Alpha Yaya in tow. It had only been a year since the official opening of the bibliotheque in 2021 and in that time Alpha had progressed from newbie to coding a mathematics tutorial programme. Alpha gives back by volunteering at the school to help his fellow pupils and teachers improve their computer literacy skills.

The tour of the school continued, with a visit to the basketball court sponsored by Richmond Motor Group, a family owned business based in Portsmouth. The area is vast with high fencing all around to protect the children as they play. Previously, the schools playing area was completely open and led on to a main road where children have been hit by cars, and killed, in the past. Therefore, the basketball/volleyball court ensures a safe place for the children to play at school.

After this, the old toilet block was viewed to show the volunteers the difference between the new facilities and the ones that have been previously in use. The old toilets consist of a derelict building, and a narrow block with two separated holes in the ground for use. Therefore, the construction of the 3 self contained running toilets, fit with 3 sinks in the toilet block, will prove crucial to increasing the girls menstrual health and school attendance.
A meeting was held in the directors office to introduce the volunteers to the schools main officers. Of which, the head of education for Dubreka, Madame Camara thanked the volunteers for their time and efforts in improving the young children’s lives. The meeting ended by the volunteers attempting to introduce themselves in French, in which Alec managed to use Google translate just before his turn came around.
Finally, the 3 main classrooms had collected a lot of cobwebs and dust in the summer holidays, so they needed to be cleaned. The tables were stacked high, floors brushed, and then washed with soapy water ready for the children’s to return to school. The tables were cleaned for good measure and placed back in place and the classrooms were ready for learning again.

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