The school that Specsavers in Belper collected school supplies and donated funds for has reached the final stages in its construction and the pupils are making good use of the donated items in their studies.

Joachim Shotter visited the Belper Specsavers store in 2016, to ask for help with his project to build the school in the Jamwelly Jallow Kunda village in The Gambia. The Specsavers teams in Belper, Derby, Normanton and Ripley collectively donated £500 to help with the school’s construction, then later in the year the Belper store also launched an appeal to collect school supplies.

Joachim’s charitable fund, Education for All, was set up to provide the Jamwelly Jallow Kunda community with a school, and the Specsavers donation went directly towards buying the furniture and making the building ready for local children to attend lessons.

A word from the store director 

Store director, Andy McBride, said: ‘We have had a lovely update from the team at the school about how the pupils are enjoying the supplies and getting on with their studies.

‘We’ve kept in close connection with Joachim throughout the construction of the school and we’re delighted to hear that it is nearly finished. Last year, we appealed to the local community to pop into store and donate any school items such as stationary, colouring supplies, calculators, children’s storybooks and ruled exercise books. The response we had was fantastic and we passed on several boxes to Joachim to take to The Gambia.

‘Joachim has worked tirelessly to provide the children with a place to enjoy an education and it’s wonderful to see this effort pay off.’

Joachim has conducted charity work in The Gambia for several years and took on the fundraising for the school in Jamwelly Jallow Kunda village after his friend Cherno was given a piece of land by the village’s chief and asked Joachim to assist with the project.

'Amazing donation' 

Joachim said: ‘I would like to thank the community and the team at Specsavers Belper for the amazing donation.

‘When I first got to The Gambia I found so many people who could help and it was a very tough experience knowing you can’t help everyone even if you want to. I have to say this is probably the most inspiring thing I have ever done and now I know what to do, I will do it again somewhere else in the future.’

Detailed information about the project can be found on the website and on the Facebook page

For all Belper store information