Veterans

Ex-Soldier Jordan Wylie Keeps Promise To Boy, 7, To Build School In Africa

Three years ago, Jordan Wylie made a promise to a seven-year-old boy from Djibouti that he would build him a school.

Former soldier and extreme adventurer Jordan Wylie, best known for breaking records in some of the most dangerous places in the world, has just completed one of his most life-changing challenges so far.

A bestselling author and star of Channel 4's 'Hunted', he has run through war zones, rowed across the perilous Bab El Mandeb Straits and attempted to paddleboard around the whole of the UK, all to raise money for charity.

Three years ago, he met a little boy in the Horn of Africa who was desperate to go to school, so Mr Wylie promised to build him one.

There are more than 27,000 child refugees living in Djibouti who have been displaced by the conflicts in Yemen and Somalia. 

And thanks to Mr Wylie's fundraising efforts through children's charity Frontline Children, a school has now been opened in the remote desert region of As Eyla.

Speaking to Forces News from Djibouti, he explained his inspiration for the project.

"One of the children I met a few years ago, a little boy called Ibrahim who lives out in the desert in the Asal region, his dream he told me, was to go to school like his sisters did, one day."

Jordan Wylie with Ibrahim at the school's official opening (Picture: Dorothee Pardigon).

Mr Wylie has now been able to show Ibrahim around the building where he will be going to school.

"He was very emotional," he said. "It's incredible, makes me quite emotional to think about it.

"It is the first school to open in the region and will take 250 pupils.

"We saw the first 100 on Friday in their school uniforms, with their school bags on, it was amazing, I really can't put into words, incredible stuff.

"It's very tough conditions, certainly out in the desert, because you're four hours away from a town and very limited in terms of water supply and sanitation.

"It's 44-45 degrees in the desert, so I certainly couldn't live out there for long, it's very, very tough conditions.

"These people are really surviving every day. I don't know how they do it but they do it, and they do it with a smile on their face."

Veteran Jordan Wiley circumnavigating Great Britain via paddleboard DATE UNKNOWN broadcast on 231220 CREDIT Alfie Marsh.jpg
Jordan Wylie completed 149 days and 2,377km of his attempt to paddleboard around the UK which had to be abandoned because of COVID-19 restrictions (Picture: Alfie Marsh).

Mr Wylie joined the Army at the age of 16 and served for 10 years, completing operational service in Northern Ireland and Iraq

He is currently the National Ambassador for the British Army Cadet Force (ACF).

Speaking about the fundraising for the school, Mr Wylie said: "I've been given lots of legs up in life and people have helped me and I think you have a duty and a responsibility to pay that forward to the next generation.

"I think that's all we've done here, we've seen an opportunity to help and we've tried to do our best.

"Hopefully Ibraham will go on to have an education and maybe a better life and I'm sure that when he's older he'll be able to pay that forward to somebody else, that's all we can hope for with this kind of thing," he added.