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City of Banjul
Monday, October 19, 2020

UK-Gambian charity facelifts Bakau New Town school

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Emily West, Georgie Whitworth, Josh Lovatt and Jamie Knowles are led into the country by Elicia Morgan, who last month visited the country with three of her students to sponsor a fencing project at the Bakau Lower Basic School garden. The trip is sponsored by The Shears Foundation.

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“The focus of this trip is arts base, and it leadership throughout,” she told The Standard. “So, we’ve taught art lesson to a grade one class. The young people have been learning different Gambian art skills. We’ve done some batik and we are going to do ome sand painting, which they will then take back to the UK to teach the young people there. We are painting two classrooms here and a classroom at Mandinaring Lower Basic School.”

Established in 1981, Bakau New Town has an enrolment of more than two thousand pupils. Mrs Haddy Jammeh, a seasoned educationist, has been the headmistress since 2012.

“ARC has been working in Gambia since 2002, helping schools in complementing the efforts of the government,” she said.

“At the moment, they are here in Bakau on an arts project and have painted two of our classrooms. My pupils are happy to receive them, they are learning new skills in arts and craft.”

According to her, the UK-Gambia charity, supports the needy students of her school. “The government gives 100 dalasi per child for school improvement grant. Yet, there are some students who could not buy school uniforms or exercise books.”

The charity is also building a toilet facility for the school and this, according to Headmistress Jammeh, is timely.

“Since our toilets collapsed year before last, children have been going into neighbourhoods to ease themselves,” she explained.

“You can see that building new toilets will have great impact on not only the students, but also the teachers and the community as a whole.”

Nasr Hussein, a volunteer from UK has been on his second visit to the Gambia, his first was in 2013, and he stayed in Mandaring. “The first time, it was part of luck. Alex, the founder of ARC, asked if I wanted to come. I did a research and discovered that Gambia has 95 Muslim population and I said how comes I did not know about the country.

“I was surprised when I came here I received excellence reception. The children here are very discipline. It’s great that I have built links in this country. I have links in other countries but Gambia is the first in Africa.”  

Josh, 17, is one of the student volunteers and it is his second time in The Gambia. “It feels good because we’re making art look nice for the kids,” he said. “I have been learning batik. Last year when I did sand painting here, I did it for my art exam in the UK and I also thought my primary school kids.”

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