During half-term Old Ronian JP was in Thiès, Senegal, with his mother to personally hand over the fencing kit bought from the money raised by the Ronian fence-a-thon in June.
After arriving at the prison in Thiès on Monday, October 23, where they were met by Ablaye Gueye, one of the fencing coaches for L’Association Pour le Sourire d’un Enfant, JP watched some awesome fencing training by coach Jacques Faye. He was also shown around the classrooms and DT workshops used by the charity to rehabilitate and help the children adjust to a future life outside the prison walls. After presenting the kit, made possible by the fencing club’s fence for charity, generous donations from friends and a kind discount from Leon Paul, the British fencing kit maker, JP gave a short speech thanking the fencers for letting him visit.
The next stop was an orphanage also supported by the charity further away in the countryside of Thiès. JP met the teacher there, Ms. Oulimata Kebeye, who is also a fencing coach, and the young children in her charge. The children learn to read and write, and are trained in fencing to help them develop social skills and self-confidence. The children gave JP a fencing demonstration, and JP fenced foil for the first time – and lost! But fun was had by all.
The trip ended with a visit to the British Embassy in Dakar where JP met with the Deputy Head of Mission, Mrs. Harriet King, who was keen to learn about the fencing program in Thiès and about why Saint Ronan’s had chosen to raise the money for the fencing kit. She was delighted about the initiative and that there had been a British interest in Senegal.
The children were all hugely grateful for the kit made possible through the sponsored fencing and the generosity of all donations. Once again a huge thank you to everyone who contributed to the fundraising for the fencing in Senegal. It was a great success and has made a big difference.
To watch a short film about the initiative we did so much to help, follow the link