The Diary of a volunteer in The Gambia: Part 5

Stefania, our volunteer, talks about our Education project and the situation in the school. We are so happy to be able to make a difference, but we know that there is a long way to go.

“Today we met with a representative from the Ministry of Education, the Headmaster and the teachers of the Balanghar Basic Cycle School. We’d spent hours collecting, counting and packing all the stationary to donate but first, we wanted to understand the struggles of working in a remote village where education is not accessible for everyone.

We’ve heard about the subjects they teach and the projects they coordinate. ‘Education is key’ echos in every conversation here. We share ideas about what could be improved, but resources are scarce. We’ve found out that there are 516 kids enrolled this year. 100 more then we expected. There is only one classroom available for ECD (Early Childhood Development) children which means that 90 kids have to stay in one small class. This class has no furniture so they can’t learn to write until first grade. None of the ECD has a uniform to wear, just like many of their older friends. We’ve also been told that there are not enough teachers here so classes are run both in the morning and in the afternoon to cover all grades. Two classrooms don’t even have furniture. All of this got us stumped. We started looking at the 25kg of stationary we had in our boxes. This seemed to be nothing compared to what they need.

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The Diary of a Volunteer in The Gambia: Part 3

This time around, Martina, our Chair and founder tells us of how much she loved playing football with the children of Ballanghar. Martina plays football in her free time in Dublin, where she lives and loved bringing the joy of this game with her to The Gambia.

The football tournament 

“I love spending time playing with children. It is my favourite part of each trip. Children are not used to receiving so much attention from adults and they happily respond to any games we teach them.
They have learned my name by heart and it is repeated non stop to grab my attention.

“Martina, Martina, Martina, Martina…”

This year we planned to organise a number of different activities to entertain the children in the evening, from a movie night, to reading short stories to a football tournament.

Due to logistical reasons (lack of a converter for an apple laptop), we were not able to show them the Disney cartoons we brought with us: The Lion king and Aladdin. However the football tournament was a great success. We purchased a ball, bibs and some cones to define the field and just with the mentioning of football, the kids screamed of excitement!

peopleforchangeThe Diary of a Volunteer in The Gambia: Part 3
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The Diary of a Volunteer in The Gambia: Part 2

For our Part 2 of the Diary of a Volunteer we are hearing Valeria’s storie from The Gambia.

The recycling women of The Gambia

“What strikes me most every time I come to Ballanghar is the lovely people and the breathtaking landscape. I have been lucky enough to have visited this country straight after the rainy season when nature blossoms and the old baobabs provide shelter from the unbearable heat.

What hurts me every time I walk around the village is the amount of plastic and any other kind of trash you can see everywhere. The worst of all is knowing that this amazing village has no other way to get rid of it other than burn it. For as much as I try to collect it, I know it will turn into fire whose smoke will pollute the air and the land of this paradise in the heart of Africa.

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The diary of a volunteer in The Gambia: Part 1

Our volunteers are currently in The Gambia, spending two weeks with the kids of Ballanghar. When we go there, we focus our work and attention on the school where we decorate and run different courses for the kids, on the beautiful garden we built at the back of the school and on medical checks that our nurses do. We are on look out for symptoms of respiratory diseases, malaria and many more.

Our volunteer, Anisha is keeping a diary of their adventures. We want to share with you what we are up to there and also show what your kind donations go towards. Below are the first few days:

29th of October:

“Today we awoke to the sound of of cockerels and bleating goats. After saying goodbye to our neighbours (& WiFi) we began our 6 hour journey to Ballanghar. At the border, we were officially welcomed to The Gambia as VIP (can you believe it?!) and picked up a catchy song too “education is the key for me”. It’s safe to say that line was sung many times on our road trip.

peopleforchangeThe diary of a volunteer in The Gambia: Part 1
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Football for change!

A huge thank you to all the staff at News UK, Dow Jones & Harper Collins. They helped us raise £500 by taking part in the football tournament on the 30th of June.

It was so inspiring to see so many people playing together to raise funds for our projects. With the money we raised we will be able to buy medical supplies for our upcoming trip to Gambia in October!


Thank you all! And congratulations to the winning team, Newsprinters!

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Vegetables, cakes and an easy way to donate

As we here in UK await the arrival of the sun (it came out briefly but has since deserted us, it seems!), there’s plenty to keep us busy at People for Change.

Good news just in!

After a difficult series of conversations and investigations, we are overjoyed to announce that, after many weeks of not receiving food, our school in Ballanghar has this morning received a welcome package of rice, beans and oil with which to feed the students. This means they can stay in the classroom for longer, and more regularly, and we are very grateful to the World Food Programme for the successful delivery.

Browse our website to find out more, and click on our “Donate Now” button to support us, so that we can continue these vital projects across Senegal and Gambia.

News UK Bake Off!

The technology department of News UK held a Bake Off event last month to raise funds for our Charity.

11 cakes were baked and donations of a minimum £1 were asked in exchange for tasting the cakes
A Total of £176 was raised on the day and donated to People for Change.

If you too would like to host an event at your work, or organise some entertainment for a good cause, please contact uswe’d love to hear from you!

Extra Retail Therapy…

Thanks to website Easyfundraising, you don’t need to bake cakes or sit in a bath of beans to donate to charity. You don’t even need to pop coins into a donations box or hunt for your Paypal password.

Just by signing up at this link, and adding a reminder widget to your internet browser, when you make purchases with 100s of brands, from Sainsbury’s to Gap, they will automatically donate money (theirs, not yours!) to People for Change! You can even raise free donations by shopping at selected High Street stores!
It is now simpler than ever to donate to the good cause of your choice, so click the link and get shopping!

Courses and trips to Africa

We will be continuing our educational courses for fundraisers and volunteers throughout June starting on Monday 5th – email us to learn more.
We will also be returning to Africa in October, and would love you to come too! Are you a healthcare professional? Do you know someone that is?
Or perhaps you can assist us with IT in the UK and help get our website get more traffic? Whatever you can do, email us to get involved.

Producing food in Gambia

As you can imagine, growing food in rural Gambian climes is not the easiest thing, but we wanted to create opportunities for our villagers to obtain food self-sufficiency, giving them a sense of satisfaction and nourishing both their minds and stomachs!

People for Change has assisted in setting up a poultry farm, which produced over one hundred chickens for food, before, sadly, the funds ran out and we had to pause this project.
However, we are seeing more of a success story with the agricultural part of our venture:

  • As of February 2017, the village had 18 beds of onions, 9 of cabbages, 2 of lettuces, 17 of tomatoes and almost 20 other vegetable beds being cultivated.
  • In the last month over 20kg of onions and 40kg of cabbages have arrived at the school in Ballanghar to supplement the WFP delivery which arrived today.

But of course, we can do more, and that’s where you come in. Donate today to ensure better nutrition for some of the world’s poorest children.

Spread the love! Forward our site to a friend so they can see what we are doing, or join us on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated!

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