Nations hosting charity gala to fund Gambian, Afghan students’ scholarship programme

Members of the School of the Nations’ student Body. From left are Sonia Ganpat, Rhea Connelly, Shreveda Tewari, Grace Garnett, Rebecca Da Silva, Stephen Lewis, Steffi Sinclair, Kyle Coonjah and Ethan Coonjah.

The School of the Nations will be hosting a charity gala dinner next Saturday, in hopes of raising enough money to cover the cost of bringing four students – two from Gambia and two from Afghanistan – as part of a scholarship programme.

Steffi Sinclair, a representative of the Sixth Form Student Body Council, which is in charge of planning and executing the project, told this newspaper that the idea was first birthed after a visit by the school’s director, Brian O’Toole, to Gambia and Afghanistan.

She explained that O’Toole visited Gambia, where he was able to experience the conditions of the schools and the hardships the students face, and learn of the trials they went through to establish the Starfish non-governmental organisation (NGO). He also met up with the heads of the NGO, together with the heads of the Marefat School in Afghanistan, through the first Conference on Educational Leadership that was hosted at Nations last August.

At the conference, plans were made to invite students from the school and the NGO to attend Nations for six months to undertake the Association of Business Executives (ABE) Level 4 programme. As a result, the ABE in the United Kingdom and at Nations have collectively waived the fees for their course. The students will be allowed to choose from either Business Management, Marketing Management or Human Resource Management. However, the school still has to raise funds to bring the four students from their countries.

Sinclair pointed out that they are targeting US$10,000 to cover all the expenses for the four students, who they want to bring during the May/June period of this year. So far, in collaboration with School of the Nations’ business teacher Wazir Khan, the student body council organised an Entrepreneurship Day at the school, where they were able to raise over US$4,000. The group has also received donations from businessman Sean Major, as well as Olive Sinclair, from Biomed Energy Enterprise.

With more than half of the money still left to be raised, Steffi Sinclair explained that the charity gala dinner, in addition to raising money through the ticket sales, will be used as a forum to inform all the attendees of their plans to bring the four students and fully fund their scholarships.

The event will be held on January 26 but a venue has not been selected. This, she explained, is as a result of difficulties they have faced with their original venue – the Ramada Princess Hotel – which pulled out since they were not able to sell enough tickets.

Consequently, Sinclair noted that they are not only asking persons to attend the charity gala dinner but they are also asking for businesses and organisations to donate to their cause. An art auction will also be carried out at the gala, using donations provided by Gambian and local artists.

 “At Nations, we are constantly being reminded that it’s our responsibility as humans to do our part for humanity as a whole, we must put service over self. So we saw this as an opportunity to not only play our part in giving service to humanity but also creating a chain reaction that will hopefully make a difference to hundreds and maybe even thousands of people. We help a few and they use what they know to help more. We are so privileged to be given so many opportunities to better our future, it would be selfish to not use this power that we’ve been given to help someone else. The students of today are the leaders of tomorrow and we need strong leaders, not just academically capable but also morally capable to better humanity. Nations’ 6th Form College is merely trying to set off the domino effect in helping other communities, especially those war and poverty afflicted,” the student rep stated.

If the project runs successfully, the school will be aiming to fund a larger number of students next year.

Persons interested in donating to the cause or attending the gala can seek further information from the school, which can be reached at telephone number 226-5781.

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