Guest blog from Cath Calveley, committee member GOAL For The Gambia

Returning back to The Gambia never loses its excitement for Mick and I as we found out  during our trip in December 2014 and after all the fundraising as committee members the excitement grew as our departure date grew nearer , we couldn’t wait to see what the charity and its supporters had achieved since our visit in March 2014 .

Our first day with the Charity was spent on a beach day with the pupils from the Bantangba Nursery, a beach day we had fundraised for, as we know how important the experience and the day is to the children and teachers, a chance to have fun relax and forget. On this day neither the teachers nor pupils had ever visited the beach, swam in the sea, or even made a sandcastle! The children and teachers arrived by bus , I’m not sure how they all fit in , it was like a magical bus the people, pots , pans and mats  just kept coming out ! I will never forget the faces of the children as they stood in awe looking out to sea , a look of bewilderment and disbelief , which later led to questions about where the sea ended and how deep was the sea ?.We coaxed the children into the sea by Mick and I splashing each other, laughing showing them that the sea was fun and not to be feared, it didn’t take long before we were being grabbed and pulled by the children holding us tightly to take them into the sea, the sounds of laughter, screams of joy and excitement filled the air, such a wonderful sound. We showed the children how to make sandcastles and decorated them with shells to look like a jewelled palace. The day was filled with games, tug of war, skipping,what’s the time Mr Wolf, chasing balloons and the bucket race to name a few, the children were all keen to join in every game .A DJ was rehearsing for a programme he had in the evening, the kids loved it and had their own mini disco on the beach and of course we all had to dance! The ladies from Sanyang came to cook 3 wonderful traditional African meals; the food kept our energy levels up all day until sadly the day came to an end after the children received their party bags. But it didn’t end there!! The children and teachers wanted to give thanks for the day and the experience, it was quite emotional when one of the nursery children aged around 4 stood up and thanked us, our friends and the charity for the day, the work that the charity have done in Somita and for the building of the Bantangba Nursery and the chance of an education, this boy was so good he had to do it all again but this time over the microphone borrowed from the DJ. The teachers and children all had a fantastic day and we believe are still talking about that day at the beach to this day.

Our first trip back to Somita was to visit the Bantangba Nursery ,the last we saw in March was pretty much a building sight , how things had moved on through the hard work of fundraisers and the charity the Nursery had opened  on 29th September , we couldn’t wait to see it  and we certainly weren’t disappointed. As the bus drove down the road we could see the Bantangba tree a huge tree that stands in the grounds of the school, with a seating area at its base, this is where the children and teachers sit in the shade and escape the hot sun. The green and white building of the school walls stood out as we approached , an instant thought of how far the charity had come since we first visited the Gambia ,and now Sandys dream is now a reality .We entered the classrooms (4 of them) to be greeted by the biggest smiles and the loudest voices as the children stood up and either sang  or showed us on the blackboard what they had already learned in such a short time , what they had learned was amazing , these children had only been in the nursery a few months and already they knew English songs, colours and could identify fruits , these children would have come from non-English speaking homes and in two months here they were showing us what they had learned , the hard work, dedication and commitment of the teachers really did shine through in the kids. We sat in the playground where the  families had come to greet us there was dancing and singing before we gave over some donations of school supplies  we had collected since our last trip , we do this in front of the villagers to show transparency that what has been donated is given to the school. We sat around talking to the teachers for a while but one thing we did notice; the children don’t seem to want to go home and some even repeating what they had learned in class to us and the buzz and excitement of the beach day was still apparent from both teachers and pupils.

Again a 2nd beach day paid for by our fundraising, this time for the pupils and teachers from Kitty School, again the children and teachers had never visited the beach .We watched the never ending amount of children and teachers get off the bus , the children all came to shake our hands and say “Hello “or ask our names. Once again it was time to entice the children into the water , this time I threw a bucket of water over Paul to show the children it was harmless , they laughed and soon Paul was bombarded with buckets of water as the children filled up their buckets from the sea. Again the fantastic food was cooked by Janko’s family from Sanyang over a fire on the beach, this kept our energy levels up once again to ensure that we could enjoy all the fun, games and dancing that were  custom on these days .The children all received party bags before they boarded the bus to make the journey home.

Our next trip was back to Somita to visit the clinic, I had appealed to friends, family and work colleagues to buy paracetamol at 19p per pack in most supermarkets ,I wasn’t asking too much, I also did the dry January and had bought medicines to the value of the cost of my Saturday night bottle of wine .The support I had was amazing and I shipped out over 9000 painkillers,bandages,antiseptic creams,calpol to name a few, this was all put aside for me to personally deliver. The nurses and witnesses were waiting to greet us at the clinic. As we unpacked the boxes and piled up the medical supplies for photographs the smile on the nurses face grew and grew, none of them could believe how much had been donated. The nurse was keen to show us around the hospital, his diminishing stocks in his store cupboard, our donations had arrived just in time. I looked around again reflecting how things had improved here since the charity had given support, the beds now had mattresses, there were mosquito nets above the beds, a clock in the waiting room, a cot and most importantly medicines and qualified nurses ! I love visiting this clinic, every little thing is so much appreciated, and if me spending 19p every time I go into the supermarket assists in supporting this clinic and aiding in someone’s recovery then I will keep on collecting indefinitely.

There was another reason for us to visit Somita for a second time , during our trip in March 2014 we came across a lady at the clinic who was malnourished , her baby was also malnourished, she was living a very poor life even by Gambian standards , we learned that the 2 nurses from the clinic were trying to support her by giving her their lunch (they shared the other between them)to try and feed her up so that she had some nutrients to feed her baby who was very underweight for her age, a real act of humanity from the nurses, asking around and doing some digging we found out that the  people from the village even spoke of how poor this family was and how much they needed help .It really did hurt to see this happening in this day and age and I came away from Somita determined to do something to help this family. Back in the UK we spoke to friends and family about how emotional meeting Awa and her baby had been for us, we had never seen this in the Gambia before, again our friends and family knowing how passionate we are about the charity stepped in and decided to sponsor all 5 of her children and one even decided she wanted to sponsor the mother to help support the family. Today was the day that we would meet them all, deliver gifts for the children , a bag of rice and even some material for Awa to have a  dress made along with enough money  to pay the tailor, she had only worn 2nd hand clothing given to her by the charity , it was time to have something new. Firstly we visited the house they used to live in, it can only be described as dilapidated cattle shed, it was unsafe, holes in the roof, the door lintel moved, cracks in the walls,  this place would have almost definitely been washed away in the rainy season. With the support of the charity the family had been found new home. We arrived at the new home to be greeted by the family they were keen to show off their home and the 2 mattresses that Mick and I bought after finding out the whole family had been sleeping on the concrete floor, inside we presented the gifts, they were so happy, this was not the Awa I had met in March, the worried face had disappeared, she had gained weight and best of all she was smiling and happy. The children were eager to show us their school books, and what they had been learning, they opened their gifts and tried on the clothing, played with the toys, smiles never left any of their faces, there were lots of hugs from the children that day and lots of laughter as we played the game of hungry hippos out on the veranda.  We left the family telling them we would see them again in March, knowing that the charity , friends and family had made such a huge difference here left me feeling content that this family now had a chance. It was then off to a compound for lunch ,and to give out some donations of football kits , to deliver rice from a friend who decided it was better to feed a family for a month rather than buy Christmas cards. The compound was soon filled with children who again filled the air with the songs they had learned in the Bantangba nursery .I asked if the songs from the school were for us, I was told no the children are often heard singing these songs , even the children that don’t go to school know them and join in .

This is just some of the highlights of my latest Gambian experience and the joy and satisfaction that the charity and its supporters bring, so if you are thinking of booking for the Gambia for the first time or returning, please remember to contact GOAL for the Gambia and come and see for yourselves the difference the charity makes and that you can help make. I personally can’t wait to return in March 2015 along with my husband and my daughter who I know will enjoy her first Gambian experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Guest blog from Paul Reynolds – trustee for GOAL For The Gambia

GOAL   For  The  Gambia  Trip

 

I have just returned from a 2 week holiday in The Gambia and I was very disappointed with the effect the Ebola scare is having upon the people of The Gambia. There has been a reduction in the number of flights from the UK and a drastic reduction in the number of tourists. The only saving grace is that there is a steady flow of visitors who have been before and have not been affected by this scaremongering. There has not been a single case of Ebola in The Gambia. The international media has a lot to answer for !!

Anyway back to my visit , I had great pleasure in visiting Bantangba Nursery and Health Clinic in Somita with Cath and Mick, who are committee members for the charity.  Bantangba Nursery is GOAL for The Gambia’s first school that has been built and managed  by the charity. The land was gifted to the charity and all the money was raised through donations made to the charity. On my previous visit in March 2014, the walls of the building were nearly at roof level, it was a shell of a school and there was still a lot to do. However the support for the Nursery has been overwhelming and  the target of opening the Nursery at the end of September became a reality.                                                                                                       During this visit we were shown all four classrooms and were welcomed by the teachers and children in each class. Each class has approx 25 children in attendance and most of them had attended schooling for the first time in September. They were all keen to show how much they had already learnt . We were given the traditional dancing and singing welcome by the ladies from the village and we sat in the shade of the massive Bantangba tree whilst the speeches took place. The ladies sat on the brick seat that encircled the tree, this seat was constructed in memory of Sandy’s Mum who had passed away earlier in the year. It was a very thoughtful moment for me as I read the memorial plaque displayed on the seat, I have known Eileen for many years.                                                                                                       There has been great excitement from the villagers as the Nursery was being built and the opening in September. More and more parents want their children to attend the Nursery. Sandy and her team have worked exceeding hard to build and open the Nursery in such a short time , and I know she is planning to build a second classroom block in the future, however her immediate thoughts are finding sponsors for the children and teachers to ensure that there is a stable financial platform for the future of the Nursery.

 

 

 

 

Cathy, Mick and myself returned to Somita on a second day to visit Somita Clinic. As a charity we have been supporting the clinic since September 2013. We provide additional support to 2 nurses who staff the clinic and we also provide a regular supply of medical equipment and medicines to support the community of Somita. These supplies are donated in the UK and shipped to The Gambia. On this occasion Cath and Mick had rallied around all their friends and colleagues at work, asking them to buy Paracetamol and Ibuprofen whenever they went shopping, as a limited number can only be purchased on each occasion. The response was fantastic and they were able to present around 9000 painkillers as well as lot of medicines for babies to replace the diminishing stock after the Malaria season. Everybody at the clinic were so pleased to see us and they were amazed at the quantity of goods that were unpacked from boxes and displayed for photographs to be taken. We always take photographs to show they reach their final destination.

When we left the Clinic we visited a family who came to the notice of the charity when the mother  bought her malnourished baby to the clinic. When she told her story, there was a fantastic reponse from supporters of the charity to help her and her family. Cath and Mick summoned up sponsors from their family to sponsor all the children through schooling and provide essential food supplies and new accommodation to house the family.  Before we met the family we were shown the mud hut where they  had lived beforehand and it was dark and damp, there were holes in the roof. The walls were unstable and would potentially collapse in the rainy season. It was not a house to bring up a young family. Their new house was  much better and when we met the family they had smiles on their faces, especially when Cath and Mick gave them presents from all their sponsors.

Cath and Mick had raised money for two beach parties. The first one was with children from Bantangba Nursery. Thirty children arrived in the morning by minibus, many of them had not seen the beach or sea before and it was wonderful to see their initial reactions. They quickly changed out of their uniforms and tentatively made their way towards the sea. As we walked into the sea each of the adults would have 4or5 children hanging of their arms. When they became more confident they wanted to stay in the water, we had to get them out when they got cold and the goose bumps were apparent.  Throughout the rest of the day they played games and sporting activities. The ladies from the local village provided two delicious meals during the day. At the end of the day the children were presented with goodie bags to take home with them. Thirty very tired children then boarded the minibus for the trip home.                                                                                                                                The second beach day was with children from Kitty Nursery and once again they had a fantastic day. These two beach days were more relaxed than previous day’s, I think this can be attributed to the good behaviour of the children and the support of all the teachers throughout the day.

 

 

For some years the charity has been supporting Sanyang Scout Troop, and whenever there is a Scout Camp or other activity which coincides with my visit to The Gambia  I am invited to visit them.  Every time they make me very welcome by organising a formal parade to demonstrate their marching and musical skills. The new addition of the Majorettes has given the girls in the Group an opportunity to  demonstrates their skills in this new discipline. They showed great improvement since the last time I saw them. The day was brought to a conclusion with the traditional singing of camp fire songs and speeches. Once again a very enjoyable day.

On most occasions when I visit The Gambia I am fortunate to be given a charity baggage allowance by the Airlines. This gives me the opportunity to bring out some presents for sponsored children. I spent a day travelling around to the different sponsored children’s homes delivering the presents. If the children are at school, I will visit the school and take photographs of  them in class with their teacher. Many of the children at the school are rather surprised to see a visitor and  the sponsored child feels very important amongst his school friends. I get great satisfaction in reporting back to the sponsors when I return to the UK.

My trip to The Gambia was very much a mixed bag of experiences. It was very sad to see the impact the Ebola scare was having on the Gambian people, however on a positive note the charity has gone from strength to strength, especially with all the good work in Somita at Bantangba Nursery and the Clinic.

I hope that there is an increase in holidaymakers during this tourist season. When I return in March, it would be great to see fewer worried faces and more of the famous Gambian smiley faces.

 

Paul Reynolds

(Trustee)

 

 

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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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