Students and staff at Heathland’s School have raised over £4,000 for the Janga Bus project, funding a school bus to travel from St Albans all the way to The Gambia in West Africa.
The Janga Bus project will allow deaf children in The Gambia access to better education, using the minibus to transport children from rural villages to the KADECT (Kashmiri & African Deaf Children’s Trust) deaf unit in the town of Essau in the North-West of The Gambia.
The minibus has been filled with games, stationery and school supplies for the charity, that was founded by St Albans resident Mohammed Akhtar.
Mr Akhtar said: “We are a small charity who do what we can to help deaf children in The Gambia and Kashmir. Heathlands donation has been very important to the project, everyone has been so kind and generous. The bus will be invaluable in picking up children in remote villages far away from the deaf school.”
The minibus left St Albans and embarked on its 3,632-mile journey on Friday January 17.
Sarah Shields, co-headteacher at Heathland’s School, which is a nursery, primary and secondary school for deaf children, was delighted with generous donations.
She said: “As a staff team we have worked so hard to raise the money for the bus and feel so proud of what our school community has achieved. We want to be able to share and spread the quality of education provided for deaf children in Heathlands with the schools for the Deaf in The Gambia.”
The school was inspired to get involved with the project after Mr Akhtar delivered an inspiring assembly to students and staff.
To say good luck and farewell, students at Heathlands held a celebration event where they asked questions about the journey ahead and said blessings for the bus and its drivers.
The journey of the Janga Bus will be well documented across its social media channels @jangabus and website: jangabus.org
As part of the trip, a documentary will be created, on the theme of access to education.
This will aim to show that education takes on many forms and many nuances go beyond the classroom.
It also hopes to bring together different stories to show how we are all very much connected through education.
KADECT also raises funds for the education of deaf children through their charity shop in St Albans, 169 Hatfield Road, AL1 4JS.