Blackpool ex-soldier's fundraising efforts open new school in war-torn region of Africa

He ran through warzones, rowed across the most dangerous stretches of water on the planet and attempted to paddleboard around the whole of the UK - all to keep his promise of giving a 7-year-old boy his first chance at an education.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 3:45 pm

"I can't change the whole world, but I have changed the lives of 250 children who now have a chance at an education."

Those were the inspiring words of ex-soldier Jordan Wylie who has just achieved a mammoth goal that has taken him three years and given children in a small African region their first chance at education by opening the first school in the area.

He has finally delivered a promise he made to a little 7-year-old boy three years ago, granting him and other children from the As Eyla region the opportunity to get an education for the first time in their lives.

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Children living in the As Eyla region now have their first chance at an education

As an ambassador for the Front Line charity, providing education to children in war-torn places, Jordan raised more than £1 million in the last ten years through brutal and challenging fundraising efforts and donated almost £180,000 to the development of the new school.

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It was a challenge that would see him return to the dangerous conflict zones he once visited during his time as a soldier, passionate about giving young children, many of whom are victims of war, a shot at a good education.

His daredevil attitude to fundraising first began when he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro barefoot with friends seven years ago, before he set up the ‘Rowing Dangerously’ campaign to fund both the education of children affected by war.

Charity ambassador Jordan Wylie opened the school last Friday, May 14

And he was the first person to row unsupported across the ‘Gate of Tears’, the stretch of water between Djibouti on the Horn of Africa and Yemen, hailed as one of the most dangerous waterways in the world.

Jordan, 37, from Blackpool, said: "During my time as a soldier I spent a lot of time in war zones and very remote areas of the world where people don't have the same opportunities we have in the western world.

"I have always believed that children are the innocent victims of war and conflict and everything is so very challenging for them. I wanted to come back to these places and try and do something about it and make a change to the lives of these young people.

"Although I won't change the world, I have changed it for 250 children here who will now get a chance at an education. I believe if you can make a difference to people, you absolutely should.

Young children in the region have long been the victims of war and violence, with no shot at an education

"We have spent years fundraising for this and it is amazing to see the school finally open. I have completed marathons across warzones in Iraq and Afghanistan, attempted to paddleboard around the UK and rowed through some of the most dangerous waters on the planet and will continue my efforts to help keep this school running and inspire the children to give them hope for a better future."

The Frontline Children charity aims to help children gain access to education in some of the most remote and challenging areas of the planet.

Jordan has vowed to continue raising money to keep the school running, pay the teacher's salaries and ensure it stays secure and safe with the right resources to give the children the best education possible.

The plaque was placed on the newly built school

And last Friday, May 14, the adventurer and army cadets national ambassador from Blackpool cut the ribbon, officially opening Ecole Prescolaire, the newly built school that will give youngsters from Yemen, Somalia and Ethiopia a chance to learn for the first time.

He added: "It was so amazing to open up the school after all our hard work. The local elders and tribal leaders all came to thank us and congratulate us when we opened.

"You can't put into words what it means to the children, the community and myself and hopefully this is just the beginning. It shows that when you are passionate about something and are relentless in pursuing your goal, anything is achievable.

"A lot of people told me that this wouldn't be possible for just one person to do, but I was fortunate enough to have incredible sponsors, donors and supporters who have followed me on my journey and I am so grateful to them.

"We just kept going and never gave up."

Ways to be involved with donations or volunteering with Front Line Children is available at its website.

Up to 250 children can now experience school for the first time
The school was built over three years in the remote areas of Djibouti