A new charity opens in Wiltshire...and Africa - with support from Gambia's President
A new locally-based charity - Thriving Through Venture - has been set-up to help give young British people a chance to gain self-confidence through projects here and in Africa - and at the same time help young people in Africa.
It is idea of Caro Strover, an educational psychologist based in Ramsbury, with the collaboration of Dr Nick Maurice founder and one time Director of the Marlborough Brandt Group.
Their idea stems from the increasing concerns about a lack of self confidence, low self-esteem and anxiety about future prospects experienced by many young people in Britain.
Thriving Through Venture aims to address these problems by introducing young people from schools in Wiltshire and Swindon to three purposeful and ‘real life’ projects set both in their communities at home and also in Gunjur in The Gambia - which has a long-standing link with the Marlborough area.
There they will work alongside young Gambian, many of whom face similar challenges.
On a recent visit to The Gambia, Caro Strover and Nick Maurice met with a wide range of people in Gunjur and more widely - including President Adama Barrow. He and his Minister of Trade, Dr Isatou Touray, and the British Ambassador, Sharon Wardle, all affirmed and gave great encouragement to Thriving Through Venture's approach.
Dr Maurice reports that the new charity's aims met with great enthusiasm among the Gunjur community and beyond - and people were keen to contribute to the welfare of young people in Wiltshire and The Gambia.
The first of Thriving Through Venture's projects is about recording life histories of elderly people in both communities. The charity sees this as providing an opportunity for young people to engage with a different generation while addressing the problem of isolation among the elderly.
Their stories may never have been told before and by being published will become accessible to people of all ages thereby sharing the richness of both Wiltshire and Gambian cultures. The students will be working with a professional writer who will guide them through the process of writing, editing and publishing.
The second project is about the techniques and art of photography. Working with a professional photographer, the students from both communities will learn about the art of portrait photography in particular, in order to photograph the elderly people in Wiltshire and The Gambia and their environment and illustrate the book of their life stories. Again, the skills learnt could lead to professional development.
Working with the Marlborough branch of Tesco, the third project will explore processes involved in getting food products from 'field to fork'.
In particular they will visit a pepper farm in Sussex to see the growing, harvesting, storing, sorting, packaging, promoting and distribution of peppers to Tesco branches in the UK.
While in The Gambia members of the group will each work alongside their Gambian colleague of the same gender and age to explore the barriers to the development of a potentially major industry in that country: the export of fresh, juiced and dried mangoes to UK and more widely in West Africa.
President Adama Barrow recognised the enormous potential for the development of the mango industry and the opportunities for employment and wealth creation this could provide and was grateful for anything that the Wiltshire charity and the young people involved might do to tackle this.
Thriving Through Venture is a ‘not for profit’ organisation and is looking for financial support.