• Sixth Form

The heart of the MSJ ethos is to empower young women with a sense of purpose. And, in living up to its mantra, the School undertook an exciting journey over the Easter half-term. Pupils and staff travelled to The Gambia, a place special to MSJ. The School has maintained a partnership with The Gambia over the last 30 years, and each trip is tailored towards supporting community projects, sustainable living, improving skills and helping to improve schools for children.

The trip began with pupils throwing themselves into several activities, enjoying travelling, embracing culture, and giving back. They engaged with children at the Smiler's Nursery School, where they spent time teaching, painting, and transforming a classroom. They also spent two nights in the village of Illissa, where they experienced the cultural diversity of the community. There, pupils and staff caught a glimpse of their sustainability project by supporting the Youth Empowerment Project.

To add to the experience, the group enjoyed a boat ride down the river, where they observed a wide range of wildlife. The seven-hour jeep ride back was also memorable, where pupils got to take in the scenic beauty of the countryside. The joys of Easter were not lost as the girls attended church to celebrate the occasion. This was followed by an invitation to dinner at Lamin's house, our guide for the trip, in the evening. Pupils observed Ramadan with Lamin and his family, where they gathered under a mango tree and joined our hosts as they waited for the sun to go down before breaking their fast. It was a truly special moment as silence descended over the group, the girls thoroughly enjoyed the experience, hospitality, and culture of our hosts.

During their stay at The Gambia, they also had the opportunity to climb up the landmark arch in Banjul. They were treated to a panoramic view of Banjul city and learned about the history and significance of the baobab trees. Mrs Collett, Head of Year 9, gave the girls many interesting facts about the baobab trees, while also giving them an appreciation of the things we take for granted – like drinking tap water. In an experience that was both cultural and educational, the girls were exposed to some of the most exquisite sights and sounds of The Gambia.

Despite the fun and adventure, the girls were also reminded of the importance of nurturing relationships, teamwork and supporting others. This indeed forms an essential aspect of the MSJ ethos in creating an all-around person.

Our MSJ pupils' trip to The Gambia was indeed enlightening, memorable, and an experience that they will treasure for a lifetime.