Not many people see the results of their efforts first hand, but Nikita Pearce, who recently organised a sponsored cycle ride to raise money for SOS Children’s Village Bakoteh, The Gambia, paid a visit to see how her hard work had made a real difference to the lives of the children in our care.
Nikita decided to organise the challenge after learning about SOS Children’s work in Africa. She says “Having travelled to Africa and raised money for SOS before, I knew how desperately they rely on fundraising to do their amazing work”.
After choosing our SOS Village in Bakoteh, close to the capital of The Gambia, as the beneficiary, Nikita set about organising the challenge and gaining pledges of support. The sponsored cycle ride took place around Rutland Reservoir in the East Midlands, England. After learning that the route was 23 miles long, Nikita recalls her claim “Only 23 miles? We’ll go around twice!”. However, on the day itself, Nikita came to regret that promise as she woke up to a cold, wet morning and the ground around the reservoir had turned to mud. She says “By mile 5, we were caked in mud. By mile 10 we were soaked through.” As the group struggled to complete the course, Nikita tried to motivate herself “As we cycled the worst stretch, a 7-mile peninsular which was seemingly never-ending, I thought “Keep pedalling!” - words my Mum yelled time and time again, as she tried to teach my four-year-old self to ride without stabilisers. The memory brought it back - I’m doing this for children who can only dream of having their own bike and a loving parent to show them how to ride it.”
A week later, after recovering from the challenge, Nikita visited our SOS Children’s Village in Bakoteh and says “we were welcomed with open arms, particularly by the nursery children.” She also visited another local school on her trip, and draws a contrast between the facilities there with the SOS School (see photo, right) “The difference between the two was astounding – at the local school there were 60 children in each classroom, almost sitting on top of each other on benches. They had no books, no pens. At SOS the 25 children in a class sat on chairs, at tables, with posters on the walls, exercise books, pens and pencils – much like a school at home”.
In total, the group raised over £1,200 for the SOS Village in Bakoteh. Nikita says that she is glad she took part, despite the hard work, “I know, having seen with my own eyes, that the more money SOS receive through donations and fundraising, the more children they can give this start to.”
You can support SOS Children by taking part in a challenge. We are always happy to help out with fundraising ideas and support. For further details visit our about page about challenges.