Our Club has supported the Mansa Colley Bojang Primary School since 2012.
0n the 20th November 2010 a foundation stone for the construction of a new Nursery School in Jalanbang Village in Kombo Central District was laid at the Village of Jalanbang in the West Coast Region of The Gambia. Prior to this date, the children of Jalanbang had to walk several kilometres to study in Brikama, if their family could afford to do so….there is no free education in The Gambia.
The school was the idea of Mucki Bajong, and started with two classrooms and 95 pupils, and it has expanded rapidly to six classrooms accommodating 300 children up to Primary Grade 3. In that year, we sent £1600 which was used to pay for building and equipping two classrooms. We also sent books for the school library and stationery for the use of the whole school.
During the Rotary year 2015-2016, we raised money for two further projects for the school. With the District 1080 Matching Grant we were awarded, we equipped a chicken house for egg production and also provided 500 day-old chicks, essential medicines, and sufficient feed for their first year. Within six months they were producing 400 eggs a day, generating an income of £10 and it is now the fifth largest producer of eggs in the Gambia. The chickens are expected to lay for two years and will then be sold for meat and replaced.
The scheme not only generates income but improves the nutrition of the children and their families. Some eggs are given away to the neediest children. The unit is run by one trained local man but he is assisted by the children, who develop valuable husbandry and business skills in the process.
We were able to raise £400 more than was needed for the matching grant and Mucki asked if this could be used to complete a toilet block for the nursery school. They had already raised part of the funds by selling cassava from the school garden and the labour would be provided by the villagers. We agreed, and the block was completed in time for the new school intake in September. Altogether, we have so far sent the school in the region of £5,000.
The next phase of the development of the site will be the building of a secondary school. We are currently raising funds for a simple building with three classrooms, toilets and a borehole and piped water. We hope this will be eligible for a global Rotary grant. Our club feels that the importance of supporting education in poor countries such as the Gambia can hardly be overstated; it is only through education that its people can hope to have a better life.