Quick update

Hi everyone

 

It has been a while since I last posted or updated this web page.  I have been concentrating on our Facebook page and sadly neglected here.  Please check that page out even if you are not a Facebook user you can still view the page. https://www.facebook.com/goalforthegambia

I will be updating and adding pages on the website over the next few weeks.  We need to put some information on about our work in Somita.  We have a new nursery school which we have buitl and recently opened to 114 children plus the support we have been giving to the clinic in the village.

We are still working at Kitty school and supporting Kuloro and Santo-su Nurseries.

Our sponsorship programme is also growing. We now have 240 children who are individually sponsored plus 7 teachers studying for their ECD qualifications at The Gambia College.

We are going to have guest bloggers, as our committee member visit they will each write an update of their experiences and what ha changed since they were here last.

Please keep checking back for new pages and updates and in the meantime check us out on Facebook

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July 2013 Newsletter

 

Newsletter July 2013

 

It has been an amazing year for us again.  This last season has been our best yet and a big thank you goes out to everyone who has contributed in one way or another.  I don’t want to single out individuals here as it would be a very long list and hopefully I have thanked you all either personally or publicly on our Facebook page.

We had many return visitors to our schools again this year which more than made up for the decline in new visitors.  It is lovely to see old faces again, many of you have become personal friends which for me is a bonus!

We have also had two groups of students this year, both of which were a joy to spend time with.  I thank all the students, teachers and their school and college in supporting their trips.

This time I had set the charity a huge task by supporting three new schools, Kitty School, Santo-su Nursery and Kuloro Nursery.  All of them have benefitted enormously from the visits and school materials, toys, clothes that have been brought along by visitors.

We had projects at all three schools and I am delighted to report that the work we have achieved at each school has exceeded even my expectations!

At Santo-su Nursery we replaced the roof after re laying the classroom floors.  We pay each teacher an amount every month through the generosity of sponsors and one of the new teachers has just been accepted at the Gambian College to study Early Childhood Development.  This is a three year course and once again thank you to the sponsors who have made this possible.  Mr Camara is also starting his second year of the course sponsored by supporters. We will continue our support of the teachers and also school materials at this school but we have no plans to do any further construction work as they have now been approached by a Dutch charity who want to do far more than we could expect to do there.

Kuloro Nursery have had  a new toilet block built, window shutters on all the classrooms and office and we are currently renovating the old dining room block into a toddler class and store.  They have also started their own gardens and are growing bananas and vegetables, ( seeds donated by visitors) and hope to raise income for the benefit of the school by selling these.  This has all been overseen by the new Caretaker.  All the teachers there are also in receipt of a small payment every month through donated funds.  Two of the unqualified teachers there have also been accepted at the Gambia College to do their three year ECD training, sponsored by supporters.  Mr Njie is about to start his final year at the college and that will mean that all teachers there are qualified or training.

Kitty School has been our biggest project this year and amazingly we have achieved a new toilet block, renovated the two old classroom blocks including re roofing, both have been painted inside and out by Carmel College students, a capped well and pump and  renovation of the old nursery, it was two tiny classrooms accommodating more than 150 students.  It has now all been knocked into one, the mud blocks have been plastered with cement, new foundations dug to support the building and a verandah is now protecting the entrance to the classroom.  The students from Carmel College did a fantastic job in painting and decorating the classroom.  We are currently having a store cupboard built in there and shelving to hold all the lovely new toys, books and educational support items we hope to have donated by September.

Our biggest project by far at Kitty was the construction of a new 4 classroom block including an office for the Head teacher and stationery store.  To be honest I expected this to be a two to three year project but with the generosity or sponsors it is almost completed.  We have made the decision to commit to a September opening.  All we have to do now is furnish it!  We estimate the cost to furnish these four classrooms with desks, chairs, teachers desk and chair as well as the Head teachers office and store will be approximately £2000.  I am delighted to report that we have already had a very generous donation from a  Carmel College student and her mother as well as other donations and we are on the way to meeting our target.  We are now hoping to replace all the furniture in the whole school as soon as possible.  The nursery block has the furniture which was donated last year so we will be giving them a fresh coat of varnish so they look as good as they did when they were first made.

We also pay Kitty school money every month to ensure that each teacher will receive something for their efforts all through the year.  We have also just committed to funding three of the teachers to a three year course ( carried out in the summer months) to gain qualifications on Arabic Studies, so qualifying them to be Arabic teachers.  At present we have no sponsors for them so if anyone would like to sponsor their studies it costs £70 a year for three years.  We are also looking for additional sponsors to pay the three new teachers we will be employing from September.

Our sponsorship programme continues to expand and we are now sponsoring almost 150 students plus 20 teachers.

The Sanyang Scouts go from strength to strength led by Janko Jabang who is also now employed by the charity as a field worker.  We have take several visitors to see the Scouts in action and every time I am very moved by the commitment and discipline displayed by the Scouts, the Scout Band and also the newly formed Majorettes group.  The whole group has come to the attention of The President and last month he was greeted by the Scouts and Majorettes in Sanyang.  He was so impressed by the group and especially the Majorettes as they are the only group in The Gambia that he made a donation of D10,000 ( around £200) to the group.  The Scouts no longer have their link with the 5th Sunbury Scouts at present as they are also raising funds for a new toilet for their HQ in the UK so if anyone knows of any Scout Troop that would like to link with our Scouts I would be very happy to arrange that.

WE have had two very successful beach days, one at Christmas for the grade 4 students at Santo-su nursery and one at Easter for grade 4 at Kuloro.  Both of these days were sponsored by supporters.  The children and staff all had wonderful days.  For many of them this was the first time to the beach and they were all very excited and some a little overwhelmed.  With lots of help they were able to go in the sea, build sandcastles, have sports races, lunch and dinner.  Great fun for all of them and something we hope to do again this year.  We also took some of the sponsored children to the beach with their sponsors when they visited and these days were also much enjoyed by children sponsors and the GOAL For The Gambia team.

We have now formed a fundraising committee in the UK supporting the work of Paul, the trustee in the UK headed by Julie Russell.  We have five committee members and they are all working hard together to support us and help to raise much needed funds and goods for the schools.  Julie is also coordinating the shipping which is coming out to us about once a month now with Moneypipe who have been amazing and very supportive of our work.  We have two collection points now for donated items, one in Erith in Kent and the other in Wigan, they will even travel to collect items if the distance is not too far!  We are collecting almost anything from second hand clothes and household items to school supplies.  Most of the second hand clothes are sold in our charity shops here in The Gambia and this raises the funds to keeping sending the boxes of goods.  The charity does no use funds for these shipments, all costs are covered by the sale of the clothes and this means that all items donated to the schools are shipped out without any direct cost to the charity. A massive thank you to Julie, Jeff, Cath, Mick and Bev from Paul and I for their tireless support.

We are also very lucky to have the support of Wurth UK who send us many goods for use on our projects or to sell here to raise funds for the charity.  They have sent us so many items I cannot list them all but they include pencils, pens, nails, screws, tools, a safe and office furniture.  Thank you to them for their support also.

 

All these items from Wurth and the second hand goods are sold in a total of four small shops in Tanji where I live.  This gives employment to four  trusted Gambians who each receive a (very) small percentage of their sales.

I am also grateful to Fansu & Janko who are employed by the charity to assist me in our work here.  They have many tasks but the biggest one is the coordination of the sponsored students.  They each have a case load and are responsible for gathering all information about the students, paying their school fees and acting as liaison between the schools and the charity.  We are happy to welcome Bless to our small staff group, like Janko he is sponsored by supporters to work with us.  Bless has been volunteering with us for many years now and I am happy to be able to pay him a small salary every month.

Our plans for 2013/2014 season are to continue work at Kitty, finishing off the new classroom block, renovating an old building already there into a library/study area, completely re furnishing all the classrooms and building a perimeter fence.  We will also continue to support Kuloro and Santo-su by taking visitors there and ensuring they have the materials they need to teach creatively.

In the future we have plans to build our own Nursery School in Somita village in the Foni district, this is a little further out than our other projects but now very accessible as the new road now goes through that village.  This village is where my husband’s family all originate and my father in law has very generously donated a large plot of land to build a school.  We are very excited about this as this will be our first school built completely from scratch and will become the first GOAL For The Gambia nursery in The Gambia.

A very busy year but a very successful one.  I hope that we can continue to build on this years work and look forward to another exciting year ahead.

If anyone needs any further information or wishes to sponsor a teacher or a student please contact me.  Also if anyone wants to fundraise for any of our projects we have a Virgin Moneygiving page where you can set up your sponsored event and money will come direct to us.

You can get more information on our work at the following

Facebook page www.facebook.com/goalforthegambia

Our website  http://goal4gambia.org/

Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/GOAL4TheGambia

 

Thank you so much for reading this lengthy newsletter and for all your support.

 

Best wishes

 

Sandy Sanyang

Founder – GOAL For The Gambia.

 

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July 2013 Newsletter


Newsletter July 2013

It has been an amazing year for us again.  This last season has been our best yet and a big thank you goes out to everyone who has contributed in one way or another.  I don’t want to single out individuals here as it would be a very long list and hopefully I have thanked you all either personally or publicly on our Facebook page.
We had many return visitors to our schools again this year which more than made up for the decline in new visitors.  It is lovely to see old faces again, many of you have become personal friends which for me is a bonus! 
We have also had two groups of students this year, both of which were a joy to spend time with.  I thank all the students, teachers and their school and college in supporting their trips.
This time I had set the charity a huge task by supporting three new schools, Kitty School, Santo-su Nursery and Kuloro Nursery.  All of them have benefitted enormously from the visits and school materials, toys, clothes that have been brought along by visitors.
We had projects at all three schools and I am delighted to report that the work we have achieved at each school has exceeded even my expectations! 
At Santo-su Nursery we replaced the roof after re laying the classroom floors.  We pay each teacher an amount every month through the generosity of sponsors and one of the new teachers has just been accepted at the Gambian College to study Early Childhood Development.  This is a three year course and once again thank you to the sponsors who have made this possible.  Mr Camara is also starting his second year of the course sponsored by supporters. We will continue our support of the teachers and also school materials at this school but we have no plans to do any further construction work as they have now been approached by a Dutch charity who want to do far more than we could expect to do there.
Kuloro Nursery have had  a new toilet block built, window shutters on all the classrooms and office and we are currently renovating the old dining room block into a toddler class and store.  They have also started their own gardens and are growing bananas and vegetables, ( seeds donated by visitors) and hope to raise income for the benefit of the school by selling these.  This has all been overseen by the new Caretaker.  All the teachers there are also in receipt of a small payment every month through donated funds.  Two of the unqualified teachers there have also been accepted at the Gambia College to do their three year ECD training, sponsored by supporters.  Mr Njie is about to start his final year at the college and that will mean that all teachers there are qualified or training.
Kitty School has been our biggest project this year and amazingly we have achieved a new toilet block, renovated the two old classroom blocks including re roofing, both have been painted inside and out by Carmel College students, a capped well and pump and  renovation of the old nursery, it was two tiny classrooms accommodating more than 150 students.  It has now all been knocked into one, the mud blocks have been plastered with cement, new foundations dug to support the building and a verandah is now protecting the entrance to the classroom.  The students from Carmel College did a fantastic job in painting and decorating the classroom.  We are currently having a store cupboard built in there and shelving to hold all the lovely new toys, books and educational support items we hope to have donated by September.
Our biggest project by far at Kitty was the construction of a new 4 classroom block including an office for the Head teacher and stationery store.  To be honest I expected this to be a two to three year project but with the generosity or sponsors it is almost completed.  We have made the decision to commit to a September opening.  All we have to do now is furnish it!  We estimate the cost to furnish these four classrooms with desks, chairs, teachers desk and chair as well as the Head teachers office and store will be approximately £2000.  I am delighted to report that we have already had a very generous donation from a  Carmel College student and her mother as well as other donations and we are on the way to meeting our target.  We are now hoping to replace all the furniture in the whole school as soon as possible.  The nursery block has the furniture which was donated last year so we will be giving them a fresh coat of varnish so they look as good as they did when they were first made.
We also pay Kitty school money every month to ensure that each teacher will receive something for their efforts all through the year.  We have also just committed to funding three of the teachers to a three year course ( carried out in the summer months) to gain qualifications on Arabic Studies, so qualifying them to be Arabic teachers.  At present we have no sponsors for them so if anyone would like to sponsor their studies it costs £70 a year for three years.  We are also looking for additional sponsors to pay the three new teachers we will be employing from September.
Our sponsorship programme continues to expand and we are now sponsoring almost 150 students plus 20 teachers.
The Sanyang Scouts go from strength to strength led by Janko Jabang who is also now employed by the charity as a field worker.  We have take several visitors to see the Scouts in action and every time I am very moved by the commitment and discipline displayed by the Scouts, the Scout Band and also the newly formed Majorettes group.  The whole group has come to the attention of The President and last month he was greeted by the Scouts and Majorettes in Sanyang.  He was so impressed by the group and especially the Majorettes as they are the only group in The Gambia that he made a donation of D10,000 ( around £200) to the group.  The Scouts no longer have their link with the 5th Sunbury Scouts at present as they are also raising funds for a new toilet for their HQ in the UK so if anyone knows of any Scout Troop that would like to link with our Scouts I would be very happy to arrange that.
WE have had two very successful beach days, one at Christmas for the grade 4 students at Santo-su nursery and one at Easter for grade 4 at Kuloro.  Both of these days were sponsored by supporters.  The children and staff all had wonderful days.  For many of them this was the first time to the beach and they were all very excited and some a little overwhelmed.  With lots of help they were able to go in the sea, build sandcastles, have sports races, lunch and dinner.  Great fun for all of them and something we hope to do again this year.  We also took some of the sponsored children to the beach with their sponsors when they visited and these days were also much enjoyed by children sponsors and the GOAL For The Gambia team.
We have now formed a fundraising committee in the UK supporting the work of Paul, the trustee in the UK headed by Julie Russell.  We have five committee members and they are all working hard together to support us and help to raise much needed funds and goods for the schools.  Julie is also coordinating the shipping which is coming out to us about once a month now with Moneypipe who have been amazing and very supportive of our work.  We have two collection points now for donated items, one in Erith in Kent and the other in Wigan, they will even travel to collect items if the distance is not too far!  We are collecting almost anything from second hand clothes and household items to school supplies.  Most of the second hand clothes are sold in our charity shops here in The Gambia and this raises the funds to keeping sending the boxes of goods.  The charity does no use funds for these shipments, all costs are covered by the sale of the clothes and this means that all items donated to the schools are shipped out without any direct cost to the charity. A massive thank you to Julie, Jeff, Cath, Mick and Bev from Paul and I for their tireless support.
We are also very lucky to have the support of Wurth UK who send us many goods for use on our projects or to sell here to raise funds for the charity.  They have sent us so many items I cannot list them all but they include pencils, pens, nails, screws, tools, a safe and office furniture.  Thank you to them for their support also.

All these items from Wurth and the second hand goods are sold in a total of four small shops in Tanji where I live.  This gives employment to four  trusted Gambians who each receive a (very) small percentage of their sales.
I am also grateful to Fansu & Janko who are employed by the charity to assist me in our work here.  They have many tasks but the biggest one is the coordination of the sponsored students.  They each have a case load and are responsible for gathering all information about the students, paying their school fees and acting as liaison between the schools and the charity.  We are happy to welcome Bless to our small staff group, like Janko he is sponsored by supporters to work with us.  Bless has been volunteering with us for many years now and I am happy to be able to pay him a small salary every month.
Our plans for 2013/2014 season are to continue work at Kitty, finishing off the new classroom block, renovating an old building already there into a library/study area, completely re furnishing all the classrooms and building a perimeter fence.  We will also continue to support Kuloro and Santo-su by taking visitors there and ensuring they have the materials they need to teach creatively.
In the future we have plans to build our own Nursery School in Somita village in the Foni district, this is a little further out than our other projects but now very accessible as the new road now goes through that village.  This village is where my husband’s family all originate and my father in law has very generously donated a large plot of land to build a school.  We are very excited about this as this will be our first school built completely from scratch and will become the first GOAL For The Gambia nursery in The Gambia.
A very busy year but a very successful one.  I hope that we can continue to build on this years work and look forward to another exciting year ahead.
If anyone needs any further information or wishes to sponsor a teacher or a student please contact me.  Also if anyone wants to fundraise for any of our projects we have a Virgin Moneygiving page where you can set up your sponsored event and money will come direct to us.
You can get more information on our work at the following

Thank you so much for reading this lengthy newsletter and for all your support.

Best wishes

Sandy Sanyang
Founder – GOAL For The Gambia.
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Happy New Year 2013-01-01 12:26:00


I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and wish everyone a very Happy New Year.

We have had an amazing year and achieved things even I did not think were possible.  Since the new season started in late October we have had a lot of visitors and have been out on 31 visits to schools, sponsored children, Scouts etc.  We have also been overwhelmed by the generosity of people with gifts for the schools, sponsored children, second hand clothing, sponsors for teachers and students as well as some very generous cash donations.

It all started with Julie Boyle doing a sponsored open water swim which raised in excess of £800, this was then closely followed by Faye Mcsloy who trained for a half marathon.  Unfortunately she broke her foot just before the event but her friend Stephanie Kerry ran for her and raised over £500!   It was not a good time for either of our fundraisers as Julie picked up a nasty stomach bug from the Thames and was sick for two months.

The money from these two fundraising events was used to build a new toilet block at Kuloro Nursery, install a tap in the school grounds as well as repositioning the school gates and repairing the school wall.

A big  thank you to Inking About Africa who have also been working in partnership with us on many of our projects.  Faye Mcsloy, who trained for the half marathon for us, is one of the trustees and they were here again in December and visited some of our projects with us and were able to be at the inauguration of the toilets at Kitty!  They part funded this with Julie Boyle.  We look forward to another year of working closely together.

We have also had a huge amount of support from Wurth UK and they send us a huge variety of their damaged stock ranging from nails, screws, paint brushes, to a safe that is now installed in my home to keep the charity money safe.  We use a lot of their items on our building projects but the surplus we now sell in another shop in Tanji, again helping to pay for the shipping costs. This shop is also giving another local man employment.  The charity has not had to pay for a shipment for a very long time now and all the items sent are much appreciated.  If anyone has anything they want to donate to us for selling in the shop or to distribute to schools please contact us and we will try and arrange collection.


We have also received support of a group of ladies who have set up an auction site on Facebook where they are selling their unwated items to each other and all the funds some to us.  So far they have raised £180 including gift aid.  Thank you so much ladies. www.facebook.com/groups/521555207856320/



We have also had some very generous donations for Kitty School, some of the donor wish to remain anonymous but Jo & Martin Bromwich very generously set up a Virgin Moneygiving page and asked friends and family to donate instead of giving them birthday and Christmas presents this year.  This page had an amazing response and including the Gift Aid we have received over £2000 from them.  Their original intention was to build a new toilet block there but as they raises so much more than they originally targeted for the balance will be used towards busing the new classroom block.  We are currently building the toilet block and it should be completed I the next couple of weeks.  The classroom block has been started with a generous donation and you can see by the photos on Facebook that we have come quite a long way already.  Once the toilets are completed we will continue work on the classrooms until the money runs out!  The staff, older students and committee members have volunteered to have as many working parties as needed to make all the blocks for these projects which will save us quite a bit of money and enable us to maximize the funds we have.  They all seem to have great fun doing this and it is a joy to go there and see how many people are helping.  They say it is for their benefit and although they do not have money they want to play their part in the projects too.

Kitty School has also been lucky enough to receive a donation from one of our supporters to install a pump and cover for their well.  This is also under way and we hope to have it all completed next week.  Pictures will follow on Facebook.

Finally for Kitty school we have recently received a donation to install Football posts in the school grounds which has bought much excitement to staff and pupils alike.

For Santo-su Nursery we have just completed the new roof which was badly needed with donations from many individuals and I would like to thank everyone for their efforts in making sure this project was completed before there was an accident in the school.

We now have sponsors for many of our teachers at all the schools, in total we now have 14 teachers sponsored but we are still looking for more sponsors for another 8 teachers.

The student sponsorship programme is also growing and we now currently sponsor over 120 students at different levels of education.  Only about 70 of these students have their own sponsor, the rest are supported through fundraising.  We also have a long list of students in need of sponsorship.

We had our first Beach party for the level 4 children of Santo-su Nursery, 50 children attended and for almost all of them it was their first time to see the beach.  They were very excited and loved every minute of the day, they had food, drinks, party hats, balloons, goody bags and prizes.  When they left the beach at the end of the day they were tired but very happy.  We hope to do this as an annual event for the children in level 4 as they will move on to Primary School in the summer and we would like to offer all the children this opportunity at some point.  For the children in levels 1 to 3 we had a party at the school where they also had lots of food, balloons, party hats and a good time was had by all again.  Thank you so much to The Crazy Family (they know who they are!) for sponsoring these two events.

We have not forgotten the children at Kuloro Nursery and would like to arrange something similar for them during the Easter holidays.  Obviously this will all depend on funds but I am busy collecting suitable gifts, balloons etc in preparation for their party.

Last week we spent a day at Kuloro School with staff and committee members painting classrooms to brighten them up.  We intended painting 2 of the classrooms but we were all so enthusiastic we managed 4!  Unfortunately the paint ran out otherwise we would have done the last classroom as well as the Head teachers office.  However I bought a small tin of paint and the Head teacher, staff and caretaker are going to do this themselves.

We have achieved a lot in a short time and I am truly amazed and thankful for the support.  However our work does not stop here.  We are going to need a lot more money to achieve our goals.  The classroom block at Kitty is going to need another £6000, the refurbishment of the old classroom block is going to be around £1000.  We need to refurbish the new toddlers classroom at Kuloro which was formally a dining hall and we would like to make it a bit more toddler friendly.  The wall at Kuloro also needs further work.  For Santo-su there are many projects to do but our priority will be to fence the school.  The existing fence has fallen down in places and we intend to keep the good bits and repair the rest.  I have not had this costed yet but will do so in the New Year.

All the schools need re painting, outside and in and we have a group of students coming in the summer months who want to do a couple, of days work on projects here so hopefully we will be able to get them on to that!

I have many more ideas bubbling away and will report on those at a later time.  The priority at the moment is to work on the projects we have started and complete as much as we can before the end of the season in April.

We have just formed a fundraising committee and I would like to welcome Julie & Jeff, Cath & Mick and Bev to our merry band.  They are all full of ideas for fundraising and if anyone has any suggestions please let me know and I can pass them on to the fundraising committee.

We were lucky enough to find an excellent shipping agent who have helped us enormously this year, http://moneypipe.co.uk/   We are now shipping even more school items and second clothes over thanks to their support.  They collect our consignment from our collection points, ship them to The Gambia, clear them from Banjul port and call us when they have arrived at their depot in Bundung.  An excellent service and they have been very generous in offering us free space in some of their containers.  This has not only saved us money but time as well as we used to spend hours and hours at Banjul port trying to clear our items and get them out.  A big thanks to Baboucarr Bittaye and his team at Moneypipe.
The support we have had from Moneypipe has enabled us to expand our shipments of items and we have been very fortunate to receive some fantastic donations of school items, stationery, toys, second hand clothes and other items.  All the school items are distributed by us where most needed and anything sent out for free distribution we take to the communities where the items are most needed.  The majority of the second hand items we sell in our shop at Tanji and this helps us to cover the costs of shipping.  We sell the items at a very cheap price in a very poor area and many people can now afford to buy the good quality goods at a very reasonable price.  We have now opened another shop in Tanji, in a different area with very low rent selling second hand clothes and so far this is working well, it is also giving a local man employment.

Thank you all for your support, we could not do this without you all and you are making us and the children of The Gambia very happy.

Once again we would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year and hope that 2013 brings us all good health, peace, happiness and prosperity.


Sandy Sanyang.

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Newsletter Summer 2012


Another busy season behind us now and a big thank you to everyone who visited the schools, sponsored a child, donated to our projects, spread the word, we could not do it without you.
We have several new schools we are now working with, more about them soon but just wanted to talk a bit about the two schools we have now finished our work with.  The first is the Arabic School in Brikama.  It was one of our very first projects and we intended building a new school for them and at last it is finished.  It took longer than we hoped as we started it in our early days and we did not have as much support as we do now.  They now have a fine classroom block, four classrooms, two offices, 3 toilets and a big store all completely finished now.  They had some support from another organisation last year and have now almost completed two further classroom blocks.  We have left plenty of school materials there, footballs, football kit etc and wish them every success in the future.
At Basori Nursery School we are very proud to have completed fenced the school, provided toilets and a big store cupboard full of teaching materials, toys, mats etc.  We had planned to continue to work with this school by providing teachers’ salaries but after discussion with the school committee it was agreed that we would leave the school in the hands of the committee to develop further.  Unfortunately they did not want to keep the two teachers that we had employed but I am happy to say that we have now placed both of them at new schools and very happy they are too!  We have had a wonderful time at Basori and I know many people have very fond memories of their visits there, we shall miss them but leave knowing that the school is in a better condition than when we found it.  We wish them every success for the future too.
On to our new projects.  The first school is Santosu Nursery, in Brikama.  It is a very well organised school with dedicated staff but they were lacking in many items to enable the staff to teach the children as well as they wanted to.  We have had several visits there with visitors and have been given a very warm welcome by staff children, parents and committee members.  They have received many items and now boast a much healthier looking store cupboard.  Three members of staff have been at the school since it was built in 1996 and they relied on volunteers to come on to help with the classes.  We are happy to announce that Mr Camara, originally from Basori is now a full time member of staff there and is about to start his three year course at The Gambia College studying Early Childhood Development.  We have also provided salary to another new member of staff, Abdoulie Sarr, who is about to start his third year at The Gambia College.  Now the four classes each have a qualified (or studying to be) teacher and the Head teacher, Alkali Cham is free to run the school and oversee the teaching methods and staff.  They have very quickly formed themselves into a very tight knit and happy group of staff, it is a pleasure to see them all working so well together.  We have also provided an allowance to increase the salary of the other two teachers and hope to get more sponsors so we can cover the monthly salary payments for the school which will enable them to use the small amount they get from school fees for developing the school, paying for the water etc.  During the Easter holidays we laid new floors in every classroom plus the office, they were in a very poor condition before.  Our plan for next season is to put a new roof on the school building.  It has been there since it was built and is now in a very state of repair.  Already the rainy season winds have lifted some of the corrugate so with the holes already there it will be very uncomfortable there when it rains.  It is a very big building and will need 20packets of corrugate at 1400 dalasis ( just over £30)  each to replace the whole roof, plus the nails, a few timbers that need replacing plus the labour I estimate it will cost just over £700 to do.  We look forward to more visits there next season.
Our second school is Kitty Arabic School. Kitty is a village just outside of Brikama. The children at this school start from Nursery to grade 8 so the age range is from 3 to about 16.   Once again we have had visitors at the end of the season and Kitty also has a very enthusiastic way of welcoming visitors!  This school has had no support over the years and were desperate for very basic supplies.  They had no pens, pencils or paper for their exams earlier this year which was when we first got involved.  We have now provided them with more of the same plus exercise books, chalk, posters, worksheets, sport equipment.  We also worked with the charity Inking About Africa  http://www.inkingaboutafrica.com/ (please have a look at their website and see if you can help by donating used ink cartridges) and with a donation from Stowmarket Lions Club we have provided much needed benches and tables for  four classrooms.  With donations from visitors we have put a new roof and timbers on one of the classroom blocks and new windows and shutters on the same block. This is the block where much of the new furniture has been placed.  Our next project there is to put a new roof on the other classroom block and window shutters, then we want to build a new classroom block for the nursery and primary one so that the other classes can be used to go up to grade 9 which is an examination year which will mean students are not transferring to Brikama for their last year.  There is a lot to do there and I can imagine we will be working there for some time.  They are also in constant need of school stationery and resources.
The third school we are planning to work with is a nursery at Kuloro, which is passed Brikama and Madina Ba.  We have only recently visited there when Ebrima Njie, the former Headteacher at Basori took over there.  The school has been in existence for many years and used to be a busy well attended school.  It was formerly funded by CCF, a large charity working in The Gambia and many other countries.  They provided the buildings and ran the school for some time before switching their priorities to children with disabilities.  The school has gradually seen a decrease in the students attending and consequently a drop in fees being paid so the staffs have been working for a long time without salaries.  I met with the teachers and school committee and they are delighted to have Mr Njie and GOAL For The Gambia on board.  We were able to provide a few school materials for them but our stocks were very low as it is the end of the season and almost everything had been distributed.  However, they were very grateful for the items we did donate and we will endeavour to provide them with much more when school opens again in September.  The village have already held meetings to discuss developments and the parents have committed to returning their children to the school and supporting the teachers as best they can.   We have agreed to pay one of the teachers as well as Mr Njie and hope we will be able to offer salaries to other teachers before too long.

We have two other schools we are working with in a smaller way.  One is St Francis School near to Sanyang.  It is a huge Christian School and many of our Scouts attend there.  It has a nursery, lower basic, upper basic and senior secondary school on campus.  As with all our schools it is in a very poor community and we have promised to try and help them with resources and already sponsor about 15 students there.  We have had two visits there and they were both very enjoyable, we also paid another visit to donate more materials, books, encyclopaedias, craft materials which were very well received.
The other school is in Somita which is further upcountry in the Fone area.  Another Arabic School with very little in the way of resources.  We have donated pens, pencils, exercise books, footballs, blackboard paint and other items but have yet to take visitors there.  We hope to do so next season.
The village of Somita is actually the village where my husband and his family come from, hence my interest there and his family have very generously offered us a very large piece of land in a very good position to build our own nursery if we wish to.  We will give this some every serious thought over the coming months as the village is definitely in need of one and it would be nice to have our own nursery with staff selected by us and run as we see best.  I will discuss the idea with the Dept of Education and see if they agree there is a need before we go any further.  The journey to Somita will take about one and a half hours from the tourist area and I hope some visitors will be interested in visiting next season.  It is a very different environment further up country and in my opinion very beautiful too.
You may wonder whether we are taking on too much.  After discussing this with other trustees and supporters we agreed that it would be better for the charity and reach more children if we took on more projects.  We were very busy last season and at one point we were visiting Basori nursery almost every day.  This is not good for the children or the community as there is a risk that the community will become dependent on the charity and this would not be good for the schools long term future.  Visitors are very generous with the items they bring along for the schools and we believe it best shared amongst needy schools.
The scouts continue to improve and grow in numbers.  Janko, the scout leader has worked very hard with the young people; he held a training camp during the Easter holidays, part funded by us.  Here he trained many more boys and girls for the band, teaching them to play the musical instruments and also doing drill training.  The camp was very successful and the future of the Scout band has never looked brighter.  Many of the Scouts join the police and Army bands when they are old enough and this of course is very good for the reputation of Sanyang Scout Troop but not so good for the Scout band!  Most of the members who leave to join the police and Army return during their leave and assist Janko with the training. Earlier this year Sanyang Scouts were awarded a trophy by the National Scout Association as best organised Scout Troop and Band.   We have taken a few people to visit the Scouts and all have been very impressed at the dedication and professionalism they show.
Two visitors were so impressed with Janko and his leadership skills and also very sympathetic to his search for employment.  He is well educated and has done a number of courses since leaving school but finds it hard to get employment; sometimes it is not what you know but who you know!  However we are delighted that these visitors have offered to pay a salary to Janko every month to work for the charity.  He has already proved himself to be invaluable and with him and Fansu making up the team here I feel we can achieve much more.
The sponsorship scheme is also doing very well with 102 sponsored students at various different levels of education starting from Nursery up to University as well as some in Skills Training.  Roughly half of these students have direct sponsors and the rest have their fees paid from charity funds.  Some supporters pay a little over the odds for “their” sponsored students and this then goes onto the fund for paying all the school fees in September.  It seems to work well this way but we are always looking for new sponsors, either for new students or our existing ones.

We had three First Aid Training Days in December provided by First Aid For Gambia  http://www.firstaid4gambia.org/  ,at Basori ( their second year running), Brikama Arabic School and the Sanyang Scouts also were given the opportunity.  The days were really valued by the participants and on more than one occasion I have visited a school to find them putting their First Aid skills into practise.  First Aid for Gambia provide a large first aid kit for each school and return annually to check on the contents, accident book and replenish stock.  We also do our best to keep the boxes stocked up and visitors often bring us First Aid items which is really useful  A big thank you to First Aid For Gambia for their support, we hope to see them again this year and maybe even arrange training at some of our new projects.

Once again thank you to everyone who has supported us this year, please keep spreading the word, check our Facebook page for updates https://www.facebook.com/pages/Goal-For-The-Gambia/181077235260338 , our website will be updated very soon and we hope to see you all in The Gambia again next season.

Best Wishes to you all



Sandy Sanyang
GOAL For The Gambia – Trustee and Founder

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