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Nigeria trip ‘will stay with me forever’

Sandra Linnane with children from the Niger Delta in Nigeria. ANL-161003-130130001
Sandra Linnane with children from the Niger Delta in Nigeria. ANL-161003-130130001

A teaching assistant has visited children in Nigeria to see for herself the difference vital donations are making.

Sandra Linnane, who works at Coupals Primary Academy in Haverhill, spent half-term with communities in the River Rhine region of the Niger Delta.

She accompanied Dr David Donovan and his wife Shirley, the co-founders of Christian medical missionary organisation New Foundations, to witness first hand where money raised by Coupals school is utilised.

“What little we give goes a long way,” said Mrs Linnane, from Bailey Close.

“The welcome we got throughout the week was just amazing and will stay with me forever.”

Children and staff at the school have been raising much-needed funds to help those in the Niger Delta become more self-sufficient for a number of years. They have provided books, pencils and paper and even bought chickens and goats for the community.

“It was fantastic to see where the money is going,” said Mrs Linnane.

“It really is a different way of life there, as they have so little yet are so giving and so happy.

“They were incredibly grateful we were there and made us feel very special.”

It was the first time anyone from the school had visited to area, where temperatures regularly reach 45 degrees and sturdy footwear is required to prevent snake and insect bites and parasites, particularly during the rainy season.

Mrs Linnane said that on her return to school she was inundated with questions from curious children about her experiences.

“They had so many questions,” she said.

“Things like, what was the food like and did they get snow. But by showing them the difference they are making the children really feel a part of it.”

Recently New Foundations has been able to build a bungalow on land bought by Coupals. This is to become a training centre and somewhere the community can gather and visitors can stay.

Mrs Linnane said she would love the opportunity to return to the country.

“It is difficult to get up and go, but I hope it is not the last time I do,” she said.

“It was a wonderful experience.”

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