During the October half term, 19 pupils from Year 11 and three members of staff embarked on an exciting trip to The Gambia in West Africa as part of Emanuel’s outreach programme. 

The group spent a week in this fascinating country with the charity Global Hands based at their development hub in the village of Manduar. We all learned so much from the trip and some of the highlights are outlined below.

School visit

We had a fantastic visit to St Joseph’s Senior Secondary Girls’ School where we spent the morning getting to know some of the pupils, sharing filming tips and interviewing each other. We also accompanied them to some of their lessons, which were really interesting.

Family visits

We visited local families in the village of Manduar, which was a great opportunity to learn about Gambian family life. Everyone was so welcoming and we had a lot of fun!

Pupils from St Joseph’s Senior Secondary Girls' School and Emanuel work on film-making together

Community Day

We organised a community day for the local children where we ran a range of activities including sport and art. Emma took a lead on the design and painting of a large mural in the library in Manduar with approximately 50 local children participating.

Kunta Kinteh Island

We visited this historical island (formally known as James Island) to learn about the slaves who were held captive here before transportation across the Atlantic.  Visiting the island was a powerful experience for all of us.

Pupils paint a mural on the library wall in Manduar


Before we travelled, we raised almost £2,000 for Global Hands and during the trip we were able to witness the impact of this fundraising. We enjoyed helping to plant 100 papaya trees that will be grown as part of the Smiling Food Co. social enterprise – some of which were sponsored by Emanuel parents. We also experienced first-hand the benefits of the new solar power inverter that we purchased with the money raised, which will provide a sustainable and reliable electricity supply for all activities at The Hub. We are now hoping to raise further funds to purchase equipment for food processing (dried mango, nuts etc.). To help support this social enterprise please visit our fundraising page here.

Meeting the British High Commissioner

At the end of the trip we had the special opportunity to meet with Sharon Wardle, the British High Commissioner to The Gambia. She gave us lots of fascinating insights on various topics from the hopes for development in The Gambia to her diplomatic number plates!

For a full account of this exciting trip (and to see more photos) please visit our blog.

James Skinner (Media Coordinator) 

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Planting a papaya tree as part of the Smiling Food Co. social enterprise