IT TAKES A VILLAGE
Two people, Two continents, One dream.
Our documentary, It Takes a Village draws its name from the old African saying ” It takes a village to raise a child”. It is a wonderful story of people from different backgrounds, ignoring social and religious boundaries for the betterment of others.
After the loss of their daughter Angela, British couple Hilary and Keith Walker, split their life in two so they could create a nursery to help educate Gambian children out of poverty. Between 2001 and 2013, living six months in the UK and the rest in the Gambia, Keith and Hilary created a unique charity project called Wonder Years Centre of Excellence (WYCE). That project is now coming of age, as in 2020, WYCE officially becomes a self-sustaining organisation.
Starting from a single shared dream, Hilary and Keith Walker used every avenue to feed the growth of their education project – including selling their home in the UK. Robbed of their initial investment by a (failed project) in Tanji, the couple started again in the village of Madina Salam (The village of peace). For the next 13 years the couple accompanied by their Gambian ally E.K. Sarr, survived opposition on two continents. In the Gambia, opposition from tribal leaders, death threats and a run in with President Jammeh’s Secret Service (NIA) and in the UK constant power struggles over policies and money, with the charities trustees. Despite this their ‘child’ Wonder Years Centre of Excellence was built, and grew to be a school, clinic and village project which is known throughout the region.
But the years of fighting on two fronts, living apart and the death of E.K. Sarr, led unsurprisingly to the couples reluctant retirement in 2013. Keith’s heart-attack and Hilary’s nervous exhaustion meant they were unable to travel long distance, and so the couple knew they would never see their ‘child’ grow up, or visit their friends, again.
However, a chance meeting in the Autumn of 2018 re-ignited their imagination and encouraged Hilary and Keith (now in their 70’s) to risk traveling to Madina Salam to seek some emotional closure. That wish became the impulse for the making of the film. Despite the efforts of the charity to prevent their return, their welcome back in Madina Salam was something extraordinary to behold.
Watch the film trailer. (Due March 2020)