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Friendship and Fundraising

At All Saints, we are immensely proud of the link we share with the community of Soma in The Gambia, West Africa - best known as our ‘Learning through Friendship’ project, in collaboration with Kaira Konko Scout Active Support.  Together, we have helped to grow education, scouting and opportunities for the young people of Soma while also supporting sustainable community based projects.  ‘Learning through Friendship’ is at the heart of our Gambia link and through joint-curriculum projects, we strive to enable our children to learn from and about one another through friendship.  As part of our link, we also source community projects in need of support and enable opportunities for our children to lead fundraising projects that involve our community.

Sitahuma

Sitahuma is a rural village 30 minutes from Soma. We visited in 2018 and were given such a warm welcome by the whole community that we fell in love with it and vowed to come back. In 2019 we returned and spent five days creating a beautiful library and study centre for the community to use. We took solar lamps so evening learning can take place too. We had beds made for the teachers, cut down a dangerous tree, extended a water pipe to the school garden and planted 25 bananas.  A busy, productive and very rewarding week.

In 2020 we returned to help complete the teacher's accommodation that our pupils had been fundraising for. The school desperately struggled to recruit and retain teachers due to the incredibly poor living conditions. Teachers in The Gambia have such an important role - helping to raise aspiration and striving to inspire the next generation to make an on-going difference to their local communities and wider nation. As you can imagine, with such uninhabitable accommodation, teacher morale was low and we wanted to improve their conditions. Five rooms, with a bed and desk, were built and during our visit we helped paint (inside and out) and get the rooms ready for a handover during a wonderful opening ceremony.

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The library before.....

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The library after!

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The old teacher's accommodation

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The new teacher's accommodation

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Solar Power at Jabisa

During the summer term of 2018 we had several ice lolly sales and raised £700 for a solar power system at Jabisa.

Jabisa is a lovely small village 3km down a rough track. There is no electricity in this village so when the sun goes down at 6pm it gets very dark!

We have visited the school many times and they staff, children and village have made us to welcome. 

The teachers live in accommodation next to the school so unless they had candles, they weren't able to prepare for lessons the next day.

The solar power system has given them light and power sockets enabling the teachers and villagers to achieve so much more.

Training Bakary Baldeh

For many years Bakary Baldeh was a teacher at The Soma Lower Basic School in The Gambia. He was very helpful during our visits and we became good friends with him.

After many discussions with his Head Teacher and observing him teach we offered to sponsor him through university to become a future headteacher.

The Womens Garden

Most villages and towns have a Women's Garden which is like an allotment where each family will have a plot worked on by the women. These gardens are a vital source of food for the family.

We have seen some beautiful established gardens over the years and it was a great moment when it was decided to convert the wasteland behind the school to a garden for the mothers in the school community. The area is vast and was covered in scrub bushes and the ground very hard. It seemed like an impossible task.

The first thing they needed was a wall to stop the goats getting in! Then bore holes had to be drilled to create wells. We raised the £5000 for a brick wall and contributed to the drilling. Then they set to work hacking at the solid ground with pitchforks.

It was an emotional moment when we returned the following year, we couldn't believe the transformation - beautiful neat patches of rows of lush green plants. These wonderful women had created a paradise!

Here's a 'Year by Year' view of what we have done at our school to help our friends in The Gambia

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