Emily Kelkar ’15 returned to The Gambia the week of Oct. 28 to assist British organization Building and Assisting Communities with Education by painting a medical clinic and volunteering at a local school.
The charity brings education to African children who cannot attend school. Volunteers help the organization by completing projects including fundraising for school supplies and building public restrooms and school benches.
“I’ve always liked helping people and especially kids, so when I heard my friend talk about the trip, I instantly signed up,” Kelkar said. “I knew it would be a fantastic opportunity to experience a new culture and help out.”
During her five-day trip, Kelkar painted a medical clinic built near the Favour Preparatory Nursery School to provide medical services to village families. She also spent time at the school interacting with children by doing puzzles and art projects, playing sports and reading books with them.
“The children were so happy to see us,” Kelkar said. “They would form a crowd around me because some of them had never seen someone like me before.”
Over the summer, Kelkar took a trip to The Gambia for five days, during which she worked with BACE to plan construction of the medical clinic and public restrooms and volunteered at the school.
“The entire trip was a learning experience of getting to know how people may seem different, but we all have the common goal to survive,” Kelkar said. “It was a life-changing experience, and I know that my experience will follow me through the rest of my life.”