Reaching over 5000 kids with educational materials in the heart of Burkina Faso is no easy challenge, but that’s exactly what we did.

Every child deserves an education… the right to read and write… the chance to build a better future. Seeing children living in impoverished communities and attend school without basic writing and reading materials seems so unnecessary when you consider the waste in Australia and what we could be recycling, giving and donating from our own homes, businesses and schools.

After visiting Malawi as a mining professional in February 2012, I made a personal commitment to raise awareness and help improve education opportunities for children living in impoverished communities of Africa. Since that time, I collected enough donations to fill a 20ft sea container loaded with educational supplies and sporting equipment, made possible by the good will of many individual community members and corporate businesses located in Western Australia.

In October 2016, I returned to West Africa after joining forces with an amazing project partner and client Sarama Resources, a TSX listed and Perth based gold mining company who partnered with me to give this distribution as far reaching impact as possible. Since 2011, Sarama has been a welcome guest and participant in Burkina Faso’s Norkama district, a village situated on the Company’s Tankoro permit 400 km south-west of the capital of Ougadougou.

Sarama had the local presence, shared passion and capacity to undertake an effective distribution strategy. Working together with Sarama has made me extremely proud of what Australian mining and services companies are delivering in Africa on a daily basis. Seeing the difference Sarama has made within their areas of operation, not just through financial investment, but through the sharing of skills, culture and knowledge has only solidified my belief that mining companies are often one of the only organisations in a position to drive sustainable economic development and offer hope for employment and social advancement in communities where there is no industry or infrastructure.

Together our results exceeded any expectation I had before arrival. To date, our distributions have reached more than 5000 children, including 26 schools, 3,147 primary students, 1,914 senior students, and more than 100 senior students studying outside of Norkama Village. In addition, administration materials and equipment was also given to four CSPS Health Centres and various local Administration Centres. I am extremely grateful for the dedicated resources Sarama has allocated this project.

Aside from my own efforts, there have been many sponsors and individuals involved in gathering, storing, transporting and managing distribution of these supplies. My other major corporate sponsors include: Airland Logistics, Cristal JBE Office Choice and Acacia Mining.

Follow our story on Facebook or watch the Norkama handover ceremony video from October 2016 between the Principal of Norkarma Primary, Sarama Resources and Skye Gilligan.

You can still help make a difference and improve education opportunities

We are currently working on our next donation project. African schools need your consideration so that we can provide the basic learning tools that most of us take for granted. Items such as pens, crayons, paper and chalk are just a few examples of items in need. Businesses that are re-branding and moving, or have discontinued stock can give to a great cause. Schools that are cleaning out or updating learning materials are also a wonderful source of aid.

Please email me at skye@sgconsult.com.au should you wish to contribute.