Bristol comedian, new father and ActionAid supporter Mark Watson (BBC’s Mock the Week/We Need Answers; ITV’s Marco’s Kitchen Burnout) has just returned from Senegal, West Africa where he shared some of his favourite West Country phrases with local school children.
Make Your Mark
The comic, who grew up in Bristol, launched ActionAid’s Make your Mark campaign last month which is running exclusively in the West Country. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the 72 million children who don’t go to school because of poverty and to find 1,000 people in this region to sponsor 1,000 children in Africa.
In Senegal, Mark helped school children in the district of Djilor make their mark on the world by drawing self-portraits, in the same way as he did at his old junior school, Henleaze Juniors, at the start of the campaign.
Daily life in Senegal
The comedian learned drumming and dancing with local children. He played football in a village where ActionAid fund a local league, making football possible for dozens of footie-mad children. He joined in with their daily chores - carrying firewood, fetching water from the village well, crushing peanuts and cooking. To thank them for welcoming him so warmly he couldn’t resist leaving them with a little bit of Bristol so taught them how to say “Gert Lush” (“really good” for the non-Bristolians out there).
Mark, who’s been a regular donor to ActionAid for the last three years, said seeing this level of poverty hit him all the harder as a new father. His son was born in February this year.
Mark said: “It’s been really exciting and inspiring to see the effect of ActionAid’s child sponsorship in Djilor. Now I’m back I am going to sponsor a child straight away and I’m hoping to get a lot of people in the West Country to do the same.
“This is a place that’s not all that unlike Bristol in some ways. The close sense of community and the importance of the kids are all the same really. This is a massive opportunity for people in the West Country to get involved in changing the lives of communities in a place that’s not all that far from home and where the people really, really do appreciate and need it.”
Mark has been blogging about his trip at www.markwatsonthecomedian.com and tweeting as @watsoncomedian.
A thousand new child sponsors - could you be one of them?
ActionAid is in Bristol and the West Country this summer searching for a thousand new child sponsors. ActionAid works with communities to create an environment in which children can thrive. Regular donations from sponsors help communities turn that support into whatever’s needed most – whether it’s a new school building, trained teachers, healthcare services, clean water supplies or help to build sustainable livelihoods.
The West Country is already one of the most generous regions in the country, with 6,000 people supporting children and their communities in the developing world through ActionAid. Sponsoring a child costs as little as 50p a day, and helps not only that one child but the whole community he or she lives in.