Rotary building schools and supporting education

Rotary building schools and supporting education

Banbury Rotarian has just passed the third of a million-pound mark and is continuing his work to “make a real difference” to communities in Sierra Leone.

Alan Wolstencroft, a member of Banbury Rotary Club since 2004, first went to Sierra Leone in 2005 as a volunteer member of a Rotary Mission Challenge team, with the Charity Mercy Ships, believing it would be a “one-off life experience”.

Since his first visit Alan has visited the country twelve times, on his second trip in 2006, he visited a school where the upper juniors were being taught under the trees, as they had run out of classroom space.

Alan and members of his team donated some personal funds to enable the school to start building a classroom, and once back in the UK Alan fundraised to enable the completion of the work.

The projects have since been adopted as an approved project of Banbury Rotary Club.”

When he returned to the school on his third trip, in 2007, he made a pledge that he would work with the school community to build six additional classrooms.

The projects have since been adopted as an approved project by the Banbury Rotary Club.

Nigel Yeadon, newly elected President of Banbury Rotary Club spoke about Alan’s achievement and dedication.

He said: “although this is a Club approved project, which the Club supports, Alan is the driving force behind everything that has been achieved and truly Alan is the Champion of the Alan’s Africa project”.

Over the years Alan has fundraised to support eight different schools, and his work includes:

  • building and furnishing 39 classrooms – 21 with water harvesting systems, and 9 with electricity.
  • building 9 toilet blocks – 6 with water harvesting and handwash stations.
  • sunk 3 wells and fully refurbished another 3.
  • supporting Momoh, a wheelchair-bound teenager, for several years and in 2021, when he and his carer were evicted from their dwelling, he funded the building and furnishing a small home for them, on a piece of land gifted by their local community.

One of the schools he visited was housed in a small church hall, but a new school has now been built.

Within its own compound, comprising 6 classrooms, 2 toilet blocks and, a water well, with another 2 classrooms planned for later this year.

In recognition of this, in 2016 the school chose to re-name itself the Banbury International Community School.

Additional projects include working with a network of supporters in the UK, providing school uniforms, sports kits, school stationery items, and sanitary products for girls who would otherwise not attend school.

He set up a small micro-credit scheme and included Oxford United in supporting a local community football club.

Alan has undertaken 395 talks about his project work in Sierra Leone which have generated over £100,000.”

Support comes from individuals, businesses, sports clubs, schools, Rotary clubs, charitable trusts, WI’s, church groups and other organisations.

Alan has undertaken 395 talks about his project work in Sierra Leone, which generated over £100,000.

He is currently working on a project to complete two classrooms to add to the two classrooms and a toilet block he has funded since the start of February this year.

In the last Rotary year, he raised a total of £33,900 and in the first month of this Rotary year, he has already generated £4,800 for the projects.

To read more about Alan’s work you can read his previous article.