Kind-hearted Lancastrians raise thousands to build 'New Hope’ for generations in Africa
Hesketh Bank-based GBA Logistics have partnered with Chorley-based Christian Charity International Aid Trust to build the new High School in Sierra Leone.
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Between them, they have raised around £170,000 for the facility, and it is hoped that construction work will begin at the end of the month.
Why do it?
Sierra Leone, in West Africa, is one of the poorest nations on earth, with a life expectancy of 55 and high youth unemployment.
International Aid Trust began a ministry in the country in 2009, and then very quickly built New Hope Primary School, where there are currently 380 students and a staff of 25 at New Hope Village.
In the last 12 years students have consistently achieved top grades, coming second in the 30 primary schools in the Lungi Region.
But rising global food prices mean many families can’t afford secondary school fees, and girls who aren’t educated are vulnerable to being forced into arranged marriages at an early age.
The International Aid Trust wanted to build on their previous work, and stop this happening.
Rev. Bernard Cocker, founder and chief executive of International Aid Trust, said: “The new high school will allow us to teach students from the age of four up to 18 years instead of ‘losing’ them at the end of primary school.
"Keeping with the tradition of Hope the new school will be named New Hope Academy.
"GBA will be the main sponsor, being led by the owners Dave Birkbeck and his father Dave Snr, this is wonderful news.”
GBA Logistics and International Aid Trust have strong links going back almost 30 years - to when David and Gwen Birbeck met up with Rev Cocker through their ministries in Ukraine and Belarus.
When the invasion of Ukraine began, Peter Zak, GBA’s Managing Director, was one of the first to contact International Aid Trust to offer the company’s support.
Since then they have been instrumental in making it possible for International Aid Trust to deliver £7.5 million of humanitarian aid to Ukraine over the last six months.
Rev Cocker added: “We are very thankful for their amazing support. As with any of our projects, every penny given will go to cause.”