The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust (GHDT) is opening their ground breaking new Makasutu Training Centre and The Derek Knottenbelt Hospital. GHDT are a small UK registered charity that works in The Gambia to improve the health and welfare of working equines in the country. The GHDT focuses on educational animal welfare programmes so the Gambian people have the knowledge and skills to solve their own problems.
Their new centre will provide training for Gambian and overseas vets as well as providing support for the animals and their owners. It will provide access for Gambian students to learn veterinary skills, and will also provide a gateway for UK professionals to learn more about tropical diseases which are fast becoming a real threat for horses in the UK. The equine hospital has stabling for 20 patients, offices, a visitor centre and a lecture room. There's also accommodation for volunteers, students and staff.
As soon as the centre opened 68 students began training for the Higher Diploma in agriculture. The sessions were conducted by XL Vets along with The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust’s own vets, Dr Demba Jallow, Dr Abdou Ceesay and Dr Kebba Daffeh. The Trust believes that knowledge is strength and giving these young people training in a wide variety of skills benefits not only the animals but the people of the Gambia too. Different groups of students will now be trained on a weekly basis.
This amazing centre has been built with kind donations, along with generous financial support from Vets with Horsepower Team, The Jean Sainsbury Trust and the Elise Pilkington Trust. The Vets with Horsepower Team supported GHDT for two years giving their free time touring Europe and Ireland on motorbikes giving CPD lectures to raise funds. The bathrooms in the new centre were donated from Kohler Mira, the X-ray machine from BCF Technology, the endoscope from Burtons and Wickes generously discounted hospital and pharmacy kitchen units.
The charity relies heavily on volunteer vets, farriers and harness makers from the UK. GHDT Charity Director, Heather Armstrong said of the new centre “We are absolutely delighted that as a result of the generosity of our wonderful supporters and the sponsors we have managed to build this fantastic centre," said GHDT Charity Director, Heather Armstrong. "When I walk around it I am constantly reminded of all the wonderful people who have contributed to it and that is reflected in the atmosphere of the place."
You can find out mare about the work at The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust at www.gambiahorseanddonkey.org.uk