The Free Internet Cafe for the Blind & Visually Impaired, the first in the whole of Africa, which opens the World Wide Web, making The Gambia a leading light in Africa, with this technology by allowing free and total access to surf the net send and receive emails and for students to enhace their studies with the aid of this pioneering software. No more do they need to rely on a third party to read to them newspapers, magazines, books, letters and world wide information. - Keith's Lifeline to The Gambia

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Keith's Lifeline to The Gambia


Trust helps African villages

HE MIGHT live in East Anglia, but Keith Robinson's heart is in West Africa — in The Gambia to be precise.

By day, Keith is a meter operative for service works based in Colchester, but most evenings, weekends and holidays he and his wife Lorna are working furiously to bring vital aid and equipment to villages in The Gambia.

He and Lorna fell in love with the place 10 years ago after spending a holiday there, and since then they've been trying to improve the lives of local people by helping to run the Kingfisher Trust — a small charity which sets up skills centres and health care centres in remote Gambian villages, and sends out shipments of much-needed supplies, from medical aid to sewing machines.

'There are only three of us running the charity, so it's quite a lot of work," says Keith, who has been chairman of the Trust for six years and first got involved after that memorable holiday a decade ago, when he heard about the charity and contacted the founder on his return home.

He and Loma spend three to four hours most evenings on paperwork for the Trust, besides making one or two trips to The Gambia each year and now Keith is trying to drum up some extra help.

"We would like to involve more people," he says. "If anyone has time to spare or would like to organise a fundraising event it would be much appreciated."


Finding donors to provide equipment is one way to help. "All the materials are donated, usually by companies," explains Keith, who adds that Eastern came up trumps recently with supplies of pens and teaching aids for schools. But donations of cash — for example, from sponsored events — would help cover the cost of transporting goods to The Gambia, and help with loading equipment onto containers when shipments are sent out would also be welcome.

For Keith and Lorna, their reward for all the hard work is seeing the difference it makes to people in The-Gambia. "For example, the training provided in our skill centres — in subjects such as English language, carpentry, computing and electrical wiring — has helped many villagers find work," he says.

"Some of the people we have trained are now training apprentices, which means many more villagers are gaining the means to earn their own living rather than having to rely on charitable aid. This sort of thing makes it all worthwhile." If you'd like to help, you can contact Keith at home any evening after 6pm on: (01206) 546628.

Reprinted from Eastern Staff Magazine

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 Project5 2018 

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