A GROUP of teenagers are set to go on the experience of a lifetime as they head to The Gambia to support a community in remote village of Gunjur.
The project has been organised by new Marlborough charity Thriving Through Venture, a group who are on a mission to help young adults cope with the pressures of modern society by teaching them life skills.
Once there they will live with villagers in the African village, embracing their way of life and putting down technology to capture the life story of the people of Ganjur in a range of creative ways.
The charity is the dream of educational psychologist Caro Strover, who was inspired to help teenagers after noticing a sharp rise in mental health issues in young people.
Speaking at its launch, Mrs Strover said: “This will give these young people the life experience to launch into their adult life, boosting connectedness and belonging. It will improve strength and connections across generations with the elderly.”
Experts in business, trade, photography and storytelling will train 12 keen participants for eight months before they head out on a two week adventure to Gunjur.
There, they will use their business skills to promote mango trade and others will photograph and write the life stories of the elderly members of the Gunjur communities. The volunteers will also take the portrait of older people in Wiltshire during the project.
Looking back at his own time in Gunjur when he was 18, Nick Maurice, the founding patron of Marlborough Brandt Group said: “I found who I was and believe something like this offers young people a way to realise their potential.”
Ed Northeast, from Copyhold, Great Bedwyn, lived in Gunjur for a month in 2016 and said: “Whatever experiences you have there, throw yourselves into it. It is likely that you will only be going out there once in your life so make it count. It took me longer to adjust to coming back home than it did when you are out there because I had prepared myself for the changes.”
The charity has also been supported by Tesco in Marlborough in their plans to set up fairtrade opportunities to export and sell mangos grown in the area which are currently going to waste. It is thought that up to 90 per cent of Mangos in Gunjur are laid to waste.