Several recent projects have been completed on both the school and the clinic. Two years ago we provided the school with 6 new African style toilets as our school has grown massively over the years and the school roll now stands at 700 pupils. We have also replaced the old hand operated water pump with a similar new one and provided the school with materials to enclose an area for a school garden where the pupils can learn about science/biology whilst growing crops and trees. The fencing was needed to keep out marauding goats and cows. Surplus crops are sold at market to provide seed etc. for the following year. The clinic has been supplied with solar panels to provide electricity and hot water in both the clinic and maternity unit. Their water system has also been improved to allow outside irrigation as land in the clinic compound can also been put to use to grow crops and orange trees.
On our last visit to the school in March 2016 the headmaster approached us with a request for help once more. Within the past 6 months the school has changed from it’s former status as a Lower Basic School just for the younger children to also include the function of being classed as a Upper School which allows the older children of the village to remain in their locality to complete their education. Previously they had to travel to a local town which often meant they had to be boarded out with relatives or with other people. This has meant a considerable increase in the school roll to the current figure of 700. The school premises are small and the school has to operate a 2 shift system each day as it is impossible to fit all the pupils in at the same time. The headmaster has asked if we can help by building an annex of 3 new classrooms for the school. The trustees of the Derek Bailey Foundation have recently agreed to go ahead on this project and it is hoped that building will start after the rainy season ends in October 2016.
The above mentioned project is important and necessary and the charity is committed to completing this as soon as we can. We are currently fund raising for this project and need as much support from our donors and supporters as is possible – what would we do without you.
The three new classrooms are now built and are used by the older students of the village. We have also built new toilets for this block. The whole school complex has been freshly painted externally and now looks very impressive. The school garden is well tended and surplus crops are sold at local markets and monies raised go into school funds.
The clinic and maternity unit continue to function well and provide medical care not only for the village but attract people from a wider area. We have had to increase solar power for an increase in demand for electricity and buy a larger water pump for the increase in demand for water. The garden area of the clinic compound has been planted with orange trees which we hope in the near future will provide a cash crop to swell the funds of the clinic.
The Gambia has a harsh climate . There is consequently always a continuing need for repairs and general maintenance on both the clinic and maternity unit as well as the school.
For the trustees in England, we are always focused on looking at ways to attract new sponsors and donors as well as organising fund raising events. Our Gambian trustees facilitate our communication with people in the village and implement and organise all the work done by the DBF.