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Big hearted Highland pupils

Issued: 7 Feb 2007

The Big Heart charity fundraising event to be held in all Highland schools later this month will raise money to fund a new Skills Centre for young people in The Gambia.

On Friday 23rd February 220 primary and secondary schools will raise as much money as they can through creative and inventive fundraising activities of their choice.

The first Big Heart Day Highland was the idea of the Director of Education and Cultural Services, Bruce Robertson in response to the Highland Councils concerns for the communities affected by the Asian tsunami over two years ago. Since then Highland schools have been involved in raising over £80,000 of aid for communities affected by the Tsunami - the first year it was for the Disasters Emergency Committee Tsunami Earthquake Appeal and last year a specific community fund in the South of India - Mallampuram.

Bruce Robertson said: "This year we have identified a project in The Gambia for our support. This has come about through the work of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award in Scotland developing a Skills Centre in Bakau during the last 15 years, which has resulted in vocational education opportunities for many thousands of under-privileged young people in one of Africa's poorest countries. This Skills Centre is now delivering Day School education for youngsters whose parents cannot always afford to pay for it. I visited the Centre 2 years ago with a group of Gold Award participants from Highland who established a wonderful computing room and last year a group of our teachers visited the Centre and spent 10 days training local teachers in ICT Skills.

"The next phase of the GAMSCOT Project is to develop a second Skills Centre in a place called Kerewan which is about 40 miles inland from Bakau and is in one of the poorest parts of the country. We plan to use money raised by Highland pupils to help get the basics established for the second Skills Centre which requires water, a generator for electricity, buildings and equipment. This will allow education and training to take place and in particular ensure that there is a sustainable project in place so that there can be a long-term legacy in The Gambia."

Highland pupils are already busy thinking up novel and fun ways of raising money for the Big Heart Highland Day.

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme