Who are the "Friends of Fajikunda Nursery School" ?

We are a group of families and friends from the UK who initially visited the Gambia on holiday and met, first hand, the hardship endured by people in a third world country.

Over a number of visits, we have come to believe that one of the best ways to help alleviate poverty in the area is to provide support for education.

Initially we started to provide ad-hoc support for the "Roots Daycare Centre" - a nursery school in the FajiKunda area.

In 2001 we registered 'Friends of FajiKunda' as a charity, putting our efforts on a recognised basis.

We are a completely independent group and have no connection with any other organisation, either religious or political and have no affiliation with any other charities.

We do not have any management or administration overheads, all our fundraising work and administration is voluntary.

Education in the Gambia and the Nursery School

The Gambia is a small, independent, West African state with a population of 1.5 million.

A centre for the slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Gambia was colonised by the British in 1889 and gained independence in 1965.

Whilst the Gambia is not, in terms of poverty and famine, one of the headline-hitting African states - it is very much a third world economy with an average household income of under £400 per annum.

Secondary education in the Gambia is free to children over 8 years, but secondary schools typically do not accept children without a primary school education; which has to be paid for.  Many families cannot afford this, so inevitably there are many who end up with no education and hence limited opportunity to work forward out of poverty.

Roots Daycare Centre is a nursery school for 3-7 year olds and has a roll of 140 children.

It has 4 volunteer teachers, but no electricity, water, or sanitation.

Parents who are able to, contribute up to £1.50 per term, our charity's involvement has meant the school is accessible to children whose parents can't afford this.

Our Aims and Progress to date

To date, we have given support, both material and financial, in the day to day running of the school.

On our trips to the Gambia, we have taken out books, pencils, teaching aids, and writing materials, as well as playground equipment, including football strips, bats, balls, and many other items.

Our longer term aim is to build a new, larger school with basic services for the children, we have currently purchased a suitable site, adjacent to another school.

This will secure a free future for nursery education in this area, run by a local school board and staffed by well trained and motivated teachers.

The purchase of the site has cost us over £15,000 which we have successfully raised over the past two years.  We now need to raise further funds to begin building work, we estimate a further £15,000 to complete building the school.

Our fundraising target for this year is to make sufficient funds to enable us to begin building work with confidence.

Links to Schools in the UK

We have established major links between Roots Daycare Centre and primary schools in the East Midlands and Hertfordshire, and have worked closely with other schools in the Midlands, Norfolk and the North of England.

This has been a very worthwhile involvement and has resulted in a much wider understanding by the children of life in another country, and the problems their Gambian friends face.

The highlight of the link so far has been a "Gambia Day" held at the Midlands school, encompassing a whole range of activities, including dressing in national costume, local food, singing, dancing, and drumming with authentic instruments.

We hope to establish further formal links with schools in Yorkshire and Norfolk.

Why we would like you to consider our Charity

It's modest giving with a high return - The appeal of our charity is that for a relatively small amount of cash we can make a real impact and improve the lives of literally hundreds of children.

It's tangible and sustainable - By providing a solid foundation in this primary school the children can progress into, and succeed, in their secondary education - ultimately this means they are better equipped to help themselves out of poverty.

It helps UK children - One of the fringe benefits that has sprung up from our work with the Charity has been the establishment of the links between UK schools and the Gambian School. We are able to offer our children the ability to link with the school, help promote understanding of different cultures and realise needs of children in a third world country.

It supports Government policy - Working to "Make Poverty History"

It maximises giving - As all our work is voluntary, money is not taken out for administration or other costs. The money you give does actually get to the point of need. Gift aid can also improve this further.

Thank You Very Much for Your Time and for your help

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