Visit to Gambia

Colfe’s has made its first trip to the Kotu Secondary School in Gambia since 2019, with a group of 15 senior school students and staff visiting as part of a long-standing partnership.

Colfe’s affiliation with Kotu has been running for 19 years and has developed over the years from support with building projects to a now much wider focus on cultural and educational exchange between staff and pupils. The collaboration has included the funding of the building of a school hall, a home economics lab and a two-storey classroom block, as well as refurbishment of many existing buildings.

This year’s trip saw the Colfe’s team get fully immersed in life at the school, joining their counterparts participating in lessons as well as school building work and the construction and renovation of outdoor furniture. Highlights of the trip included close encounters with local wildlife with visits to the Abuko Nature Reserve, a reptile centre, and crocodile sanctuary, a Gambian cooking experience, as well as visits to the Kotu fire station and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery with its poignant memorial to the 36 Gambians who gave their lives in WWI.

The group also visited Kunta Kinteh Island, a small but significant island at the mouth of the Gambia River. The island is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site; it played a key role in both the propagation and abolition of the slave trade and is today an important historical and symbolic site for Gambians.

School captain Ejiro was among the students on the trip, and gave this report: “The 2024 trip to Gambia was exhilarating from the very start to finish; it was activity filled and more importantly, quality filled. Personally, my greatest takeaway from the experience was gratitude. I absolutely admired the Kotu students’ desire to learn and make a life for themselves and this has reflected in my behaviours once returning to the UK. Motivational and inspiring to put it into a few words. We visited two natural reserves, and it was great to witness nature’s finest firsthand. For example, we saw hyenas, monkeys, crocodiles and varying species of snakes and birds. Our meals were spectacular, depicting the immense culture of the region. We collectively made a delicious meal and ate communally just like the locals would, an immersive experience.”

Head of Outdoor Education and trip organiser Major Chris Cherry said “Our partnership with the Kotu School is very special, and the benefits and enrichment that it brings to students of both schools is invaluable. It was fantastic to be back there, for the first time since before the pandemic, to see the progress of the school and its students and to see a new cohort of Colfe’s students experience it for themselves.”

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Find out more about how to apply for Colfe's School. Our main entry points are at ages 3, 4, 11 and 16.