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The Build Africa Ball raises £230,000 to improve literacy in rural Africa

Build Africa's Raphael Sungu speaks about literacy in rural Africa
Build Africa's Raphael Sungu speaks about literacy in rural Africa

Build Africa held its annual fundraising ball last night, raising £230,000 to help children in rural Kenya and Uganda learn vital literacy skills.

The spectacular black tie event, hosted by BBC News Presenter and Build Africa patron Clive Myrie, was held at London’s iconic Victoria and Albert Museum and attended by almost 200 guests.

After watching performance-based artist Dave Sharp bring to life a large and colourful canvas depicting the charity's work, guests - including Downton Abbey star and Build Africa patron Dame Penelope Wilton - were treated to a soulful performance of African folk music from London-based musician Henri-Pierre Koubaka.

Actress Tamzin Merchant, a patron and long-time supporter of Build Africa, introduced the literacy theme for the evening, sharing how her love for reading from an early age was instrumental in her choice of career.

80% of children in Uganda drop out before their final year of primary school, while 30% of adults are unable to read. Sadly, this is not unique to Uganda - this pattern is repeated across sub-Saharan Africa.

There are millions of children across rural Africa who are locked out of education and the future opportunities in life that they are entitled to. Fundamental to changing this is improving literacy. Learning to read and write is perhaps the most powerful skill a child acquires during their first few years of school. It lays the foundations for learning, helping determine how a child succeeds in their time at school, and even into adult life.

The evening culminated with guests being invited to take part in a live auction, with prizes ranging from an exhilarating heli-skiing and snowmobiling getaway in Whistler, British Columbia to a unique and captivating painting by Nigerian artist Gbenga Offo, and a heart-warming pledge from the crowd to help improve the literacy levels of primary children.

We’d like to acknowledge our enormous gratitude to our sponsors Solutus and FI Real Estate Management for their support making this year’s event truly unforgettable, and wish to thank everyone involved for a memorable night.

The incredible total raised will help Build Africa reach more communities than ever before with a mission: to help children learn to read and write – so they can beat poverty and dream a bigger, brighter future.