School Sponsorship

Sponsorship of 150 children to go to school. A one off payment of £35 (£45 for a Senior school student and £100 for a deaf student to cover the travel costs) provides uniform, exercise books and writing equipment which are essential to attend school.

Local tailors are employed to make the uniforms and school materials are sourced within The Gambia to support the local economy. In return the sponsors receive updates, letters and photos of their children when goodie bags are distributed in the Spring term.

Opposite: Some of the sponsor children at Kerawan Lower Basic School with their goodie bags.

Library Facilities

Library facilities have been built or installed at Daru, Kerawan and Sara Kunda to be used by the community as well as the schools. Solar lamps have been donated to Kerawan Community Library and Daru Community Library so the older children can use the library for their studies. Books, writing materials and games are sent regularly and training provided to the librarians every year.

We are pleased to announce our fourth library at Samba Tako and fifth library at Njoreen opened in 2022 and renovated in 2023 through fundraising.

Empower the Gambia organises the sponsorship of the librarians. Isatou at Daru is covered by Fryern school, Lamin at Kerawan by Gallywood school at Ebrihma at Sara Kunda by Book Relief.

Oxford Brookes University donated metal shelving for both Kerawan and Daru library while St Marys school, Swindo and customers at The Emporium of Loveliness provided the majority of the books. 

Opposte: Children enjoying donated books at Sara Kunda Library

Solar Power

Solar power systems have been installed into Sinchu Njabo school at Sara Kunda to run their classrooms and teachers accommodation; and Kerawan Lower Basic School teachers quarters. By providing light and power the teachers can prepare lessons in the evenings.

We have also financed solar and mains combined systems at Sara Kunda Women’s Centre and Poultry Project so that 24 hour power is provided even when the mains supply is down. At the Women’s Centre they can now sell blocks of ice made in the freezers donated by Empower the Gambia as well as mobile phone charging. At the Poultry Project they can run their freezers confident of a 24 hour supply with a new freezer funded by a team member, Jan, after her visit in 2024. We have also provided training materials and equipment to support the Poultry Project. Ice block being sold at Sara Kunda Women’s Centre

Opposite: Women with ice blocks produced using solar powered freezers at Sara Kunda Women’s Centre 

Water

While we do not instigate well building in 2021 we have installed a stand pipe to provide water rather than long trips to the well for Sara Kunda Poultry Project. At the same time the Womens Garden at Sara Kunda had 3 stand pipes installed to support 60 gardens. We have also repaired a well at Daru Lower Basic School.

We provide hose pipes and watering cans to all the gardening projects we link with.

Opposite: Sara Kunda Poultry Project enjoying their new standpipe

Daru Deaf Unit

A Deaf Unit at Daru Lower Basic School was set up in 2019 in conjunction with St Johns Deaf school on the coast along with hearing tests and additional support provided by the Gambian Deaf Children Support Project. Two tutors have now been trained in Gambian sign language..

Currently 10 children now attending the unit. Laptops and teaching materials have been provided by Empower the Gambia along with the staff wages, board and lodgings and taxi fares to bring the children to school as they come from a wide area to access the facilities. The nearest deaf facility is in Basse over 50km away which is fully subscribed and would mean the children have to board away from their families     .

Bikes for nurses, librarians and teachers

Sixteen community nurses at Sara Kunda have received bicycles to allow them to get around their villages to visit patients and to the Medical Centre. Empower the Gambia has also trained a bike technician, Ousman to maintain the bikes with supplies regularly sent out from the UK by Recycles, Swindon and donations via the shops. A new campaign to replace the bikes is underway in 2024 along with Eliman, our link at Sinchu Njabo school, taking on the majority of the bike maintenance. 

Gardening

We have trained over 50 women in organic gardening techniques which has had a direct impact on increased yields, reduction in chemicals and sharing of ideas between the women. A donkey and cart has been provided to Sara Kunda womens garden to assist in bringing back produce to the village.

Empower has sent out over 50 watering cans sponsored by Empower the Gambia supporters and Wilkos. They have gone to Women’s gardens as well as school gardening projects.

First Aid Training

First aid training has been run for several years in conjunction with First Aid 4 Gambia. Teachers, community leaders and mothers have all benefited from sessions run in the local language. First aid kits are provided to each delegate and the village first aid box is replenished with every shipment.

Several UK groups have collected first aid materials  to be sent out which is always welcomed by the communities.

Quarterly Aid Shipments

Shipments are sent every quarter providing medical equipment, teaching resources, garden tools, shoes and childrens clothing, library resources and sports equipment including football kits. We also send computers when available and have been supported by Computers 4 Charity with laptops.

Opposite: Sponsor children at Kerawan Lower Basic School     

Sports Equipment

We have been linking with local youth football teams around Swindon to send out their old kit to schools in The Gambia. We have also sent out football nets, balls, pumps and other sports equipment. 

Empower the Gambia is keen to encourage girls football alongside the training for boys football. If not already in place, schools are encouraged to set up a girls team to secure training and kit for both boys and girls. This means that instead of girls being on the side lines cheering on the boys, they are playing the game in their right and the village turns out to cheer for them. A simple change in the dynamics of the attitude towards sport and girls.

Opposite: Sara Kunda boys football team in donated Highworth Football Club kit.

Supporting community nursing

The School for Enrolled Community Health Nurses at Mansa Konko has been supported by Oxford Brookes University School of Health and Life Sciences at their Swindon campus via a link set up through Empower the Gambia. The University has donated nurses uniforms and teaching materials for the last 4 years. Other medical equipment has been provided by supporters via our charity shops and donated by IBAUK and St Johns Ambulance.

Community nurses in Bansang have been supported by Empower the Gambia providing laminated cards showing handwashing techniques as well as boxes of soaps donated via our charity shop collection points. This has allowed village wide Clean Hand campaigns to be conducted across rural areas.

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