SCHOOLCHILDREN in The Gambia can now learn in conditions we take for granted with the arrival of hundreds of tables and chairs.

In November 2015, Halesowen's Newfield Park Primary School decided to replace more than 150 tables and 300 chairs, so the school contacted Ridgewood High School, in Wollaston, to see if their Project Gambia initiative could put their old furniture to good use.

To get the large donation across to Africa, leaders of Project Gambia hired a 40ft container so the load can be delivered to a school in Madiana, who had to sit on the floor and had no books to write in.

The tables and chairs have now been set up in the school’s classrooms and pupils are already enjoying the new ‘luxury’.

In a letter sent to the both Newfield Park and Ridgewood High school, Assan Choi, from Madiana Lower Basic School, wrote: “They are very much valuable things that all the community and the school deemed it necessary to express our gratitude and expose how much we felt.

“One behalf of the community, staff and pupils, we thank you very much for the gesture. You have saved some Gambian to sit comfortably to enable them read and write. Your contribution to the Gambian education is marked.

“These three hundred and sixteen chairs and one hundred and sixty four tables will able to solve a lot of things.

“Therefore the community, pupils and staff will put the furniture to good use.”

Bev Hodt, assistant headteacher at Ridgewood and Project Gambia leader, said: “When Project Gambia visited the school at Madiana in March last year we were shocked to find that children were sitting on the floor for lessons and had no books to write in. Some were writing on blocks of wood and some in the sand.

“The tables and chairs will make a huge difference to the school and the education of the children there.

“I would also like to thank all those who donated to a shoebox appeal. Over 200 Christmas shoeboxes were sent to the children at Half Dye, who live in the most basic conditions.

“These were the only presents they received so you can imagine how excited they were.”

More information about Project Gambia can be found at, while donations can be taken to Ridgewood High School, or made by calling Bev Hodt on 01384 818445 or visiting