Education and Training
The considerable amount of publications, films and photographs resulted in the fact that almost everyone in the Netherlands and Belgium has his/her personal opinion about the situation in Gambia concerning education. Upon believing the stories, you have to be a real ignoramus not wanting to attend school or even worse not prepared to learn anything at all. Starting from 2002, after having visited several schools, we had to admit that we witnessed certain events which in comparison to our own schools seemed precarious. Especially at the beginning, buildings came out poorly, roofs started leaking and termites ate away beams much faster than they had been laid.
The will however to learn and most of all to send children to school was enormous.
Last week a sister of Arabiatou, the wife Kalifa Kanteh, died in childbirth. A young, powerful woman of barely thirty. Childbirth fewer became her undoing.
Cleaning in The Gambia means at best that someone voluntarily and therefore unpaid from time to time grabs a broom and sweeps the floor. Exceptionally someone picks up a bucket and, if there is any, puts a scoop of 'omo' in, and mops with this bucket of water the entire department of the hospital.
You can imagine that this way of cleaning is not what we have in mind for the new labor ward and the refurbished health care center. We want there to be really cleaned. That a bed is cleaned after use, that sink, shower, toilet and floor after childbirth are completely cleaned and disinfected.
We have contacted a teacher to develop an education for cleaners. The people that with success complete this course will receive a certificate and can demonstrate that they have the knowledge to professionally clean, and cleaning would become a profession.
We support 15 children with school fees, and all what is needed.15 children because we believe that every child that we support must have the certainty that, once it has sponsored, he must have the security to stay supported until the end of compulsory schooling or, until such time as the situation of the parents increase to such an extent that it is not necessary any more.That is not binding, because if a child does not do its utmost best at school, one very serious warning should be given, and if it is still not working hard at school he or she will mend its ways from the sponsor program and will be given in favor to another poor but serious pupil.This sounds hard, but it is necessary to draw up clear rules and maintain it.
We ask for your donation for school fees.
For this money is needed
Schools in The Gambia are very different from the schools that we know here. There is in The Gambia compulsory education, and there is even a directive from the government, under pressure from the United Nations, which provides for free schooling for girls in the inland.
One literary hot iron for schools is the school bell. It hangs in the sun, and you burn your fingers on it. Such bells therefore have ropes to the clappers, as earlier in schools in the Netherlands.
Unfortunately the brass bell at one of the schools in Sifoe has broken and only gives a dull sound. A new one is expensive, but Gerrit had two bells standing and made them available. They are heavy. Yet Ellen carried them in her hand luggage, which made her run crooked! These bells have wooden handles so you can sound them with the hand like the bell of the ice cream man.
We brought them today to the lower basic school and Islamic school in Sifoe. Now the students can be rung inside in time.