The Gambia Project
The project began in 2007 when one of the teaching staff from Hamstead Hall Academy visited the Gambia for a holiday. It was obvious that there was absolutely no nursery education provision in the village of Abuko so as a school Hamstead Hall made the commitment to raise enough funds to build 3 nursery school classrooms.
The first container with school resources and furniture was sent out in March 2008. At this time the school was partially built and a group of Sixth Formers went out to help with the construction. Even the President of The Gambia got involved!
The Junkung Jemus Jammeh Nursery School was completed in October 2009 (3 classrooms), 2 teachers and 60 pupils began at the school.
By January 2010 there were 3 teachers and 105 children being taught.
In December 2011 another Sixth Form trip was organised to support the teachers in the Nursery School and the Lower Basic School. By this time 145 pupils were being taught in 3 classrooms but parents were being turned away, so there was an agreement to build a fourth classroom but with a concrete roof to allow for a second storey to be built above.
In December 2013 there was a further Sixth Form trip but this time with Solihull Sixth Form College to check on the progress of the fourth classroom. New contractors were appointed to complete the concrete ceiling as this was proving to be challenging for the local builders. In September 2014 the Fourth classroom opened allowing for the school to admit 205 pupils and a fourth teacher was taken on.
By November 2014 work had begun on the staircase for the top floor, blocks made for classroom 5 and internal decorations to classroom 4 completed .
In December 2014 Hamstead Hall Sixth Form students visited Abuko, to continue supporting the expanding project.
In addition to supporting the building of the Nursery School, Hamstead Hall and its partners have:
- Completed a kitchen on the Nursery School site to feed the pupils.
- Constructed 2 new toilet blocks at the Nursery School.
- Paid for 3 additional water supplies to be laid to the toilet and kitchen areas at the Lower Basic School.
- Initiated the construction of a computer classroom at the Lower Basic School to house the IT equipment that has been donated to the project.
- Supported the building of a medical centre within the community.
How much does it all cost?
- Teachers in the Gambia are paid D1500 a month (approx. £30)
- Teacher training costs D6000 a year (approx. £120) which teachers have to pay themselves
- School fees are D187.50 per term (approx. £3.75)
- A child’s school uniform is D187.50 (approx. £3.75)
- A nanny to support the health and hygiene of the children is D1,000 per month (approx. £20)
- A bag of cement (including delivery) is D300 (approx. £6)
- A truck load of sand is D6400 (approx. £130)
The exchange rate varies between D45 to D70 to the £1.00.
How has the money been raised?
Hamstead Hall and its partners, including Solihull Sixth Form College have raised funds for The Gambia Project in many and varied ways including:
- Charity Car Washes
- Charity Bag Packing
- Party Nights
- Child Sponsorship
- Teacher Sponsorship
- Personal donations
- Table Top Sales
- School Non Uniform Days
- Quiz nights
- Cake Sales
Present development work and future developments;
Work is continuing on Classroom 5, with the walls now up to the top of window height, but the balcony and the stair well will also need completing along with this classroom before it can be used.
The foundations for the Medical Centre have all been completed and the walls of half of the centre have been built.
The base for the Computer room is now complete. This room is needed as we have given the Lower Basic School some old computers and IT equipment and the small store room they have been using is not large enough. There will be no more work on this room until classroom 5 is complete.
“A Hand Up, Not A Hand Out”
The people of The Gambia are blighted by poverty, urban overcrowding, poor health care and inadequate education. The best way out of poverty for the people of The Gambia is through education. The Government of The Gambia is working to improve
education but this cannot be done overnight. National Test results in Aboku’s Lower Basic School are going from strength to strength and the government has built a new block of 9 classrooms. The government now uses the Lower Basic School for teacher
The Gambia Project has:
- Encouraged the people of Abuko to embrace the project as their own
- Encouraged the Nursery School teachers to undertake teacher training.
- Provided different teaching resources and IT equipment
- Shared different teaching methods between the UK and The Gambia
- Created affluence in the village that wasn’t there before
- Created a willingness for the people of Abuko to raise their own funds for the school.
Interested in finding out more?
Work in The Gambia continues to support education for children desperate to have the chance to learn and to support families and communities to help themselves.
For more information -
Contact: Mr Peter Evans at Hamstead Hall Academy
Telephone: 0121 386 7510
Mobile: 07837 958989