A Jersey woman who has dedicated the last 15 years of her life to charity work in Gambia has urged islanders to support “little charities” like hers which she said “can sometimes be forgotten about”.
Susan Macdonald founded the Jersey Africa Project, which has built facilities and provided wells and sponsors children to go to school in two Gambian villages for over a decade.
She is now calling for support from Jersey people so that the charity can continue its work in West Africa.
Sue told Express that she got a taste for charity work in 2004 when she was involved in a month-long project with Jersey Overseas Aid to build a skills centre in Gambia. She said that she was “so taken” by the place and the work that, along with friends and family, she set up the Jersey Africa Project.
“Once it’s in you, you just can’t stop!” she laughed.
Over the years, Sue says that the charity’s “biggest project was the building of a clinic” which the team built entirely “from scratch” after the Sohm Village Committee and the Chief gave them the piece of land to build on.
Pictured: Susan Macdonald, who founded the Jersey Africa Project, says that she first got a taste for charity work when she was involved in a Jersey Overseas Aid project in Gambia in 2004.
In 2018, Sue says that the team went back “after ten years and refurbished a good part of the clinic” that they built, which she described as being “absolutely fabulous”.
In another village called Jangjangbureh, the Jersey Africa Project installed wells to reduce the commute for water in the area from two hours down to just 15 minutes. Further to this, Sue said that the charity also sponsors around 25 children from the villages so that they can receive full-time education.
Despite their extensive work in Gambia, Sue says that “funding is the most difficult part” of running the charity. Reflecting on the difficulty of raising enough funds, she observed: “Little charities like this one can sometimes be forgotten about.”
Sometimes fundraising gets so hard that Sue thinks about calling it quits, but she told Express that the communities in Gambia that she has gotten to know so well keep her going.
Pictured: One of the many wells that the Jersey Africa Project has built in the Gambian village of Jangjangbureh.
“I think of stopping but I go there and I know I can’t. I stay with the families, I eat with the families, I’m a part of the families now so it’s incredible really,” she explained.
Provided they can secure the sponsorship they need, Sue says the Jersey Africa Project intends to return to the clinic they built in Sohm in order to do some more refurbishment as well as planting fruit trees in the compound. She will also be going back to the gardens in Jangjangbureh to build more wells as well as sending more containers of supplies to both villages.
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