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A Sack of Old Clothes Builds a School in Rwanda

Our sale on 19 September will give people a unique opportunity to play their part completing the building of a school for impoverished children in Rwanda. We have a sale of more than 140 paintings.

Redleaf Gallery

The paintings have been donated by Tunbridge Wells art gallery owner, Nick Hills, who has been supporting the school project ever since he went on holiday to Rwanda with his Dutch wife Machteld last year to see mountain gorillas. Nick met Faith Uwantege, a local woman with a dream to start a school. She had heard that Nick and his wife had brought a bag of clothes to donate to children and sought them out. Until she appeared they could not find anyone to take the clothes. Nick, who has run the Redleaf Gallery in Castle Street for nearly 20 years and lives in The Pantiles, says: “Her opening pitch was: ‘I believe in miracles.' She was running a school in temporary accommodation but had a dream of building a school."

Employing teachers

With donations from Nick and others, Faith’s project has gone from a large and rocky field to a new school which opens in January, built by local people. Now more help is needed to finish the building and employ teachers. “Faith's project continues to need support so this sale seems the answer,” adds Nick.

How you can help

We at Grand Auctions immediately and enthusiastically agreed to be involved when we heard of Nick’s dedication to helping Faith to turn the dream of building a school into a reality. We are determined to do everything we can to make the sale a success and have waived our usual seller’s charges. We would urge anyone who has been touched by this story to play their part in raising money for this school. Rather than just give a donation you can buy a painting as a lasting reminder of this heart-warming tale. We have no need to remind people of the terrible massacres that occurred in that country a few years ago. Many of the new pupils will be orphans.

Eclectic collection

There’s something here to suit most tastes, from works by 17th Century artists to the present day. And you can buy a painting safe in the knowledge that money raised goes straight to Faith’s school without any intermediaries taking a cut, a rarity indeed in Africa.

To read about one of the star lots in the sale, read our blog Painter of Kings and King of Painters.

If you have any paintings you would like to have valued, please contact Jonathan Riley of Grand Auctions, Folkestone, Kent.