Build a School in the Gambia (BASIG) charity trustees and members on Sunday inaugurated Martin Englefield Nursery School in Sukuta. The school is funded by our charity in the UK, founded by Martin Englefield and Alan Seager.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Fatou Jallow, head-mistress of the school, said the school activities will be based on Forebel system, which is learning through play. She added that the Montessori Method will also be an additional approach which helps pre-school children to recognise, understand and learn their numbers and letters which will also help to count, read and write.

According to Mrs Jallow, the Monstessori practical life activities will be also introduced, like carrying a chair, walking on the line, saying please and thank you, washing hands, amongst others. “The wellbeing, welfare and development of children can only be realised with the support of parents. I would urge all parents and guardians to give their full encouragement to the school especially the Sukuta community,” Madam Jallow commented.

The location was chosen because the board of trustees found out that most of the children in Sukuta are not attending school due to financial constraints. The school was built in Sukuta so that children can have access to early childhood education at no cost. “We have large classrooms which can accommodate eighty pupils,” Mrs Jallow revealed.

Mrs Jallow will be running the school as headmistress with two specialist nursery school teachers, Marie Sambou and Kering Bakering. Assisting them with child welfare will be Florence who will also double up with cleaning and hygiene.

Martin Englefield, a founder co-trustee of the charity, disclosed that one million Dalasis had been spent to realise the project, adding that it took two years to raise the money through various fundraising events in the UK. “The building started in November 2011; a project with a combined team of English and Gambian members. If you are educated you have more chances of getting job and live in a better life,” he said.

Project manager and co-trustee Alan Seager said “we are very proud of what has been achieved in such a very short time, however, the work has only really just begun, having spent most of the budget allocated we must now fund the project going forward. We urge all our sponsors where possible to continue their generous support”.

It is hoped the charity will be able to stretch out funds and cover day to day running costs through to next spring when an annual golf day fundraising event will take place on Friday 17 May. It is hoped the event will raise enough funds to finance the school for at least 2 years as well as fund the purchase of additional teaching equipment.

We are very grateful for all the help received over the past 2 years from charity members, the workers who travelled from UK and all our other helpers both in the UK and The Gambia. Without their support the project would never have achieved its objective. There will be further updates going forward so please return to catch up on progress.