What is ‘Build a School in Gambia’ all about?

Co-founder Martin Englefield visited The Gambia a number of times before the charity was set up. Every visit, Martin would take supplies for the community school. It was on one of his visits that he was told of a small village called Sukuta where there was a school in desperate need of help.  On arrival at the school compound he was astounded to see many children of kindergarten age sitting on small benches at desks under a large tree. He was told that the children had to be taught in this way as they were unable to access any other school and there were no resources available to build a classroom. The clothes the children wore were very ragged and not one of them wore shoes.  There were too many children for the available desks, pencils and paper (and not a text book in sight), but nobody seemed to mind sharing. The extent of how underprivileged these children were was clearly evident and yet each of them wore a big smile and appeared happy.

The cost to send a Gambian child to school for a year is about £65 but this cost is too much for most families. In 2011 formal charity status was established as Martin Englefield and Alan Seager, had teamed together to set up Build a School in Gambia and set about raising funds to build a new nursery school on land that was acquired in Sukuta.

Following a very successful charity golf day in May 2011 it was time to start building the new school. Following a 3 month planning and procurement process work commenced in October 2011 with an English builder who had retired to The Gambia. By the time of the Charity’s annual golf event in May 2012 the school was some 75% complete and the successful running of the Golf Day again saw over £12,000 being raised. That money enabled project completion and resulted in a successful school opening in time for the new year term on 24 September 2012.

The charity has a qualified headmistress Mrs Jallow, one qualified teacher Marie Sambou and another teacher, Cering Bakering, training for his qualification which is being paid for by the charity. We are also supporting Philomen Badjen who is studying at the SOS School for her English qualification before she moves into Teacher Training.

We must now continue our fundraising efforts in order to finance the administration and teaching going forward.  Build a School in Gambia is grateful for your continued support with this worthy project.


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