As you may have seen from our social media this week – Darren and Satinder from our team have been visiting Senegal and seeing first-hand the amazing work our charity partners World Vision do to help change the lives of the children who live there! Check out our Facebook Page to see what they’ve been up to as they hand out the supplies and donations our team have put together to help support the children’s education. World Vision is a Global NPO that operates in almost 100 countries. They believe that the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children can be transformed by working together with children and their communities. Their experience since 1950 has shown that by bringing people together, they can improve children’s health, education, water, protection and sources of family income to build brighter futures (a message we’re all about!). We have partnered with World Vision since 2009 as our designated charity – and we’re so proud to be supporting their education programme in Senegal! Children in Senegal are vulnerable to the changing climate – and in drier years, hunger grows. Child protection remains a key issue too – particularly child marriage – and access to education, including vocational education and quality of teaching all remain challenging in Senegal. Today, World Vision Senegal has 29 long-term development programmes and have been working in Senegal for 30 years. Their aim is to help 8 million of Senegal’s most vulnerable children by 2021! Darren Tye has previously visited other World Vision projects Exemplar Education have sponsored in Bangladesh – an experience that has stayed with him ever since. One of his most inspirational visits was to a ‘Child Forum’. These take place before the children go to school and are organised by, attended by and run by the children themselves. They get together to talk about all the local issues, such as school attendance rates, forced child marriages and dowry’s and crime. They do this not only to help themselves, but so that when they return to their villages they can attempt to ‘educate’ their own parents and other adults – it’s amazing! He also previously visited a village that had been hit by an elephant stampede – enough money had been raised there to buy generators and large bright, mobile lights that will shine a beam on future stampedes in order to turn the herd back around.
The villagers put on a show for me to demonstrate what happens when the elephants come but it was cut short by news that another herd was heading our way. I wanted to stay and help but, of course, we were whisked away by World Vision to safety. As we walked to the ‘getaway’ car an old grandmother grabbed my hand, kissed it and held it to her head as if to say thank you – an unforgettable experience that had a huge impact on me! 
Here is one of Darren’s videos reporting directly from Senegal . Been inspired? Why not sponsor a child with World Vision as an alternative Christmas gift for a loved one? A simple act of kindness can change a child’s life – click here to find out more!