When Sarah Gardner left Ramsbury, Wiltshire for ‘an adventure’ in Ghana, Africa, as a charity volunteer, she had no clue about the challenges she’d be facing. Now, she’s written her funny, heart-warming, hard-hitting memoir, TO LAWRA WITH LOVE, revealing a turbulent yet ultimately positive and life-changing ten years.
“I was just a normal Ramsbury girl,” Sarah recalls, “with a comfortable if rather sheltered life. Like so many young women, I wanted to do something exciting, be useful in the world, maybe even fall in love. It turns out, I had a lot to learn.”
TO LAWRA WITH LOVE follows Sarah’s incredible journey to the remote district of Lawra, Upper West Ghana, where she struggled to even look after herself. “I got malaria, twice, I fell off my motorbike constantly and completely failed at the task I’d been sent to do. It was only when a terrible tragedy shocked me to the core, that I realised everything had to change. I began listening to what local people said that they needed, and that was the turning point.”
Within a year, Sarah and her family had launched their own charity, initially funded by their neighbours, who attended cake sales, did sponsored events and rallied to support a village three thousand miles away. Many Ramsbury, Hungerford and Newbury residents are featured in the book.
A decade on, Action Through Enterprise has helped thousands of children access education, hundreds of people start their own business and dozens of families with disabled children have a better life. But it hasn’t been easy.
“Lawra is one of the poorest districts of Ghana, and many people only eat three or four times a week during dry season. The work we do is literally life-saving and life-changing. I’m excited to be sharing these stories of transformation with a wider audience.” A donation will made to the charity for every book sold.
TO LAWRA WITH LOVE is by Sarah Annable-Gardner and Michele Carlisle. RRP £11.50