Pennie fell in love with Gambia on her first visit in 2018 and Marcus introduced her to the Bakau Community Nursery School at Cape Point. The school was struggling financially so Pennie went home and set about finding sponsorship and support.
Last year she was able to find sponsors and raised a considerable amount of money in the UK, selling her paintings and holding a successful African Night party among other things. Everything was donated to the school including dozens and dozens of pairs of children’s shoes which were gratefully received. More are on their way!
The idea for the shop is to be a fund-raising project for Gambia, selling mainly new, and some nearly new, clothes and shoes mostly sourced from the UK. After the usual expenses all profits will be donated to local families and will provide extra support for the nursery school. Eventually they hope to support other local charities. Local girl Brikissa joined them as retail assistant and she has been a great addition to the team.
However, this project has been badly affected by the global pandemic, 2020 was not a great year to start a new business. The area very quiet as the hotels and restaurants are either closed or have hardly any guests but Pennie and Marcus are not downhearted! They are still ordering and increasing the stock and look forward to the future when hopefully the world has gone back to normal.
On the positive side, despite tough times the UK sponsors are still supporting the school and people are still donating and sending children’s shoes and clothes. So far, the shop has managed to raise enough to help with the annual Christmas Party and some money towards the electricity bill and urgent repairs.
More stock is on the way from the UK and there will be a great range of fashionable shoes and clothing in the shop over the coming months. Their Facebook page, ‘Marcus.K’ is helping to raise awareness and so far, everyone has been very complimentary.
“I started businesses in the UK in the middle of bad recessions and those business went on to be successful for over twenty years! Starting a business in the middle of a pandemic is a challenge but things can only get better and we are determined that we will succeed” said Pennie.