Gambia trip 'hits home' for Hackney police cadets
PUBLISHED: 09:55 08 March 2017
Police cadets have just delivered 95 bikes to youngsters in the Gambia who were struggling to get to school.
The group of six 16-18 year olds have just returned from a two-week trip to the West African country where a third of the population live below the poverty line - surviving on just $1.25 a day.
Youth co-ordinator, Pc Tom Morris, said: “This is the fifth year the cadets have visited, and it was our best trip yet - you learn a little bit more each time you go about the best places to go and the things to avoid.
“We visited a nursery we went to last year and we took them loads of stuff we saw they needed like pens, pencils and books, and we collected children’s bikes for them because they have nothing to play on in their little yard.
“All our cadets say things like: “I haven’t got the latest trainers or phone or my Play Station isn’t the best”. Then they get there and see kids who cant’ afford to buy school uniform which means they can’t go to school, and children who don’t have shoes, and it tends to hit home just how lucky they are.”
The cadets who meet at Forest Road youth club raise money throughout the year to fund the trip through baking sales, sponsored runs, distributing water bottles at marathons and even a bush tucker trial. The trip is part of their Duke of Edinburgh gold award scheme.
While some of the bikes, which were shipped over in a container had been stolen and were unclaimed, most of them were donations of unwanted bikes.