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Teen taking action to help Gambian village

IDEA: Jordon Spreadbury with Paul Drayton

FOR YEARS teenager Jordon Spreadbury watched advertisements asking Britons to help communities in parts of Africa. Now the wheelchair bound 16-year-old is determined to do more than watch.

“It saddens me to see that people live like that,” Jordon says.

This August, Jordon and up to 11 other youngsters from local colleges and youth organisations in Lambeth, south London, are hoping to spend three weeks in the Gambia, giving hands-on help.

But Jordon and his group need help to raise £15,000 to get them to the rural Kitti village in Kombo, west Gambia.

“We need sponsors. We need help to raise as much money as possible. Any donation is welcome,” Jordon told The Voice.

Jordon, a part-time youth journalist and filmmaker who is studying media at Lambeth College, teamed up with voluntary youth forum The Twelve Tribes Development Trust to organise the Gambian youth exchange programme.

Trust coordinator, Paul Drayton, said: “We are hoping to take between six and 12 young people and each young person needs to raise about £954 each, so you are looking at a budget of around £15,000.”

He added: “They intend to raise the money to go.”


Jordon said he developed the idea to give youngsters the opportunity to travel and make a difference.
“We are giving people a chance to experience a different life,” Jordon said.

The exchange programme aims to send young people to The Gambia from August 3 to 24, and to have Gambian youngsters visit the UK in summer 2013.

Drayton said the Lambeth youngsters would spend August building two fresh water wells, putting up fencing and helping locals plant a new variety of crops that will give villagers year round yield rather than during the rainy season.

“That is based upon the needs of the people,” he said. “One of the reasons for building fresh water wells is they can grow food 12 months of the year, improve on food production and also increase the yield so they have excess crops to sell at market so the villages generally benefit.”

Drayton said the trip would help youngsters understand the difficulties of living in a rural and undeveloped village.

“The object is for them to develop international links, sustain relationships and also keep an eye on the project so it’s sustained in the long term.
“It is also about feeling that you are part of something worthwhile and that you’ve learned things about yourself as well,” he said.

Jordon, from Brixton in south London, and Drayton have already written to sponsors asking for help.
Jordon and other young fundraisers are also plan to hold sponsored events to raise the money.

Drayton said the young people selected The Gambia because of his previous work there. The exchange is also being helped by a new partnership with Lambeth College, partner group Esteem Museum and the Kitti Youth Organisation in Gambia.

* Donations can be made through The Twelve Tribes Development Trust Lloyds Bank account, sort code 30-80-97, account number 22471168.

Interested sponsors can contact Jordon Spreadbury on 07415 820229 or email

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