St Albans man delivers food, school books and football equipment to remote villages
- Credit: Photo supplied
Huge bags of rice, exercise books and even football pumps have been handed over to people living in remote villages across The Gambia, thanks to generous donations from St Albans.
Khaled Hassan, 30, who was born and raised in St Albans, has recently returned from a trip to help provide food, bedding, clothes, medicine and school equipment to needy causes in the impoverished West African nation.
Donations collected from St Albans Mosque and staff at Oaklands College were used to provide this aid.
Khaled, the events, community and school liaison officer at Oaklands, said that when passing through villages they would determine whether it looked like a village in “dire need, and ask if the village chief was available or whether the village had any schools.
“We would also look out for anything that looked like a school, as a number of items we had with us were beneficial to school children.”
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He drove for “hours on end across the African bush, passing mud hut villages, waving children and women collecting water from roadside wells.”
Khaled said: “During our stopover in the village of Kaiaf, the central river region, we came across a school that was in dire need of some tables and chairs.
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The children did not have tables to work on and were using large stones – broken breeze blocks – as chairs to sit on in class.
“It was a world away from the comfortable and well equipped classroom set-up we are so used to seeing here in the UK.
“Following negotiations with a carpenter in the region, 20 tables and 20 chairs were provided to this school.”
Khaled thanked the local community for the “generous donations and support. It is compulsory for Muslims to give 2.5 per cent of their wealth to charity annually in addition to optional donations.
“This has really helped me to raise a considerable amount for needy causes in Africa and around the world.
“Since becoming a practising Muslim about eight years ago, I believe it is my duty to help those in need and I feel very grateful for the privileged upbringing I have had here in the UK.”
He said that he hoped to work with St Albans based charity KADECT to help open a school for deaf children in northern Gambia in the near future.