Joy Davies and her husband Chris on a previous trip to Gambia.

The charitable Cardiff couple heading to Gambia with 60kg luggage allowance

Joy Davies and her husband Chris are looking for children’s clothes and shoes ahead of their trip next month

A CARDIFF couple are appealing for children’s summer clothes, shoes, and schoolbooks ahead of a trip to Gambia next month.

Joy Davies, and her husband Chris, who live in Cyncoed, are returning to the West African country in December for a birdwatching trip, having previously visited in 2018 and 2019.

Gambia ranked 151 out of 172 countries in a list countries ranked by wealth in 2021, in data published by Credit Suisse.  

Its economy has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic with the tourism industry, which makes up a large proportion of the country’s income, decimated by travel restrictions.

Given the levels of poverty in the country, the couple are keen to do all they can to help the nation’s people.

“The first time we were out there we were struck by how poor the people are,” said Joy.

“The economy is almost solely based on tourism and even a few years ago (pre-pandemic) there was a lot of poverty.

“Because we’re going out again, with 60kg of luggage capacity, I thought I absolutely must take stuff because over Covid the country has been absolutely devastated.

“Inflation has been going up and food prices have been going up. I don’t know what they’ve lived on, I really don’t.”

Joy’s husband, Chris, posted an appeal for items on Nextdoor and the response from people in Cardiff has pleased the couple.

“People have been very willing to help,” said Joy.

“The last time I went I didn’t have as much luggage capacity, but my daughter put an appeal out on Facebook, and we got enough.

“This time because we’ve got so much capacity, I thought we would post it on Nextdoor and it’s been really helpful.

“After putting the appeal out I’ve had a lot of responses from people who have been kind and generous so I will have enough stuff to go out there, quite certainly.”

After two previous visits to the country, Joy and Chris have got to know people in the country and have established links with communities.

“In Gambia, if you want to go on a trip, you get a driver who will organise outings for you. We really go to know ours; his name was Milli. He was very interesting and informative, and we got to know about his community, so when we went the second time, I took a load of stuff for his community.

“I have been collecting schoolbooks and pens and Milli will take us to a school one day to deposit these.

“It is surprising how many people in Cardiff know Gambia or have links to Gambia. There is a Gambian man in Cardiff called Lamin Seine who is an ambassador for the country. Every year he organises two containers full of stuff to go to Gambia.

“He then goes over to make sure it’s distributed properly so any excess stuff that I have will be given to Lamin so that he can take it over when he goes out.

“People in Gambia have been so badly hit by Covid with the blow to the tourist industry, and they are really struggling. Anything we can do to help the children with school materials, clothing and shoes would be appreciated.”

If you can help Joy and Chris with their appeal, then contact Joy Davies on 07976510020.