Letter from Africa

on March 27 Hatab wrote to our members: Thank you Team, On behalf of all the staff and students of all our projects in the Gambia, we want to wish each and every member of our association to stay safe and healthy from this COVID 19 Our prayers and thoughts are with you in this trying moment and hope that with unity we will over come this sickness very soon. May God protect and guide you and your family from this dreadful virus. Wish you all the best. Hatab would also like to thank the sponsor of his car engine. A few months ago and despite several repairs, the engine of the club car has given up the ghost. Thanks to a sponsor Hatab was able to buy a used engine for the car and have it installed. Since March 18th, the schools, the Skill Center and the universities in Gambia are closed and the teachers try to work from home. They prepare lessons and try to provide their students with tasks via e-mail. But this is relatively difficult, because many of them do not have computers at home. Some teachers also bring their students the teaching materials from nearby. All our employees in Gambia continue to receive their salary. A sewing instruction for protective masks was passed on to the tailors. They can now make and sell masks.
Also the government in Gambia announced restrictions on March 27th: All non-essential food outlets at all markets will be closed. All public places and places of worship will be closed. Family celebrations will be limited to 10 people and transportation will be limited to half the usual number of passengers. Prices will be frozen to prevent hoarding of all essential goods. The government has also approved an emergency fund.

Sponsor for education in Gambia

For 20 years, the Amberg-based association Socialis for The Gambia e.V. has supported school and vocational training in The Gambia through memberships and donations. “The Regensburg company Fronteris made a significant contribution to this last year”, reports board member Thomas März-Kronfeld of Socialis. A delegation from Fronteris recently visited the West African country and met the young trainees in person.
The charitable organization founded a kindergarten and a school in the West African country of The Gambia, where more than 600 children up to grade six now receive free schooling. In addition to the school, the association runs a training centre for about 50 prospective tailors and hairdressers in the village of Brufut.
Thanks to the great initiative of the company Fronteris from Regensburg, even more young adults can now start an apprenticeship. Already since September, the company has been supporting three young women and one young man to complete a vocational training by covering the entire training costs.
The chosen occupational groups of the trainees are very different and range from business management and tourism management to teaching profession for the upper school. Fronteris would like to give especially the young Gambian* women a chance. After graduating from school, they would otherwise not have the opportunity to do an apprenticeship, as they cannot afford the sometimes high costs themselves.
For the coming training year, the company would like to include further school graduates in the sponsoring programme and, above all, promote local trades and crafts. The board team of the Amberg-based association Socialis for The Gambia. e.V. thanks Fronteris “for the great support of the former students of the Sannehmentereng-Lower-Basic-School and wishes the young trainees all the best for their start into their professional life”, says März-Kronfeld.

Caption: Thomas März-Kronfeld
Our photo shows the German delegation in Brufut with the trainees (from left): Abdou Joof, Gunilla Janner, Haddy L. Bojang, Werner Engelhardt, Yama Sanneh, Kai Pawelka, Nyillan Joof.
Photo: Waltraud Haid

Translated with (free version)

Letter to members

Winter 2019/20

For you, dear members, we summarized the news of the past half year.

In May big preparations for the school festival for the 20th anniversary began. The students with their teachers rehearsed songs and plays, sewed clothes, organised meals, seating and pavilions.

During the Pentecost holidays, a group of 20 people flew to Gambia to visit the school, the Skill Centres in Brufut and Sintet and to get to know the country and its people. The colourful and impressive school festival with almost 900 guests was the highlight for all participants. 620 pupils were presented with wooden hearts. Students from the Amberg area painted them under the motto “A heart for Gambia”. All employees received a sack of rice as a gift as a token of gratitude and appreciation. Longstanding employees were also honoured with a certificate and a club shirt.
We are especially pleased to have met former students with their success stories. They proudly reported that they work as fashion designers, run their own hairdressing business or are successful in the music industry. You can find pictures and travel reports on our homepage.

The trainees in Sintet passed the examination for dressmaker with flying colours. Karin Neumüller personally handed over the certificates and footstitching machines to our seven proud women.

In July the sixth classes successfully completed primary school. The majority of the students attend the secondary school in Brufut. Thanks to the financial support of a sponsor, seven graduates of the Secondary School now receive a scholarship at the GTTI training centre for craft and economic professions.

The carpentry workshop with Schreiner Landing Tamba was moved from the Skill Center to the school to carry out the necessary repairs at the school. Since our tailoring shop at the Skill Center is growing steadily, the former carpentry shop was converted into an additional sewing room.

On August 31st, a flea market was held at the Kulturstift Amberg for the benefit of the association. Numerous sellers offered flea market goods and donated their proceeds to our projects in Gambia. The visitors could stroll through the flea market with coffee, cake, cold drinks and snacks. Karin Neumüller showed pictures of the group trip and informed all interested people. Thanks to the numerous visitors and great feedback the day was a complete success. Many thanks to all participants for their donations!

A women’s garden was created on the school grounds in Sintet. 15 women from the village are overjoyed as they can now grow and harvest fruit and vegetables for their own needs and livelihood on their own bed. The water from the elevated tank can also be used for this purpose. It is still necessary to build a second catch basin. The women pay a small rent per bed to have, among other things, reserves for repairs.

The school and kindergarten started in September with a total of 610 children. 205 girls and 215 boys in the primary school and 95 girls and 95 boys in the kindergarten attend Sannehmentereng School this year. The first two kindergarten classes now start with 25 instead of 35 children, in order to be able to support the individual children more individually. Each child receives a school uniform, which is sewn by our tailors in the Skillcenter team.
The two interns Julia and Iris work in the creative house and support the creative teacher Manlafi. In the afternoon they give private lessons for all classes.

Sulayman Barrow, 22 years old, is a former student and is very interested in training as a teacher with a focus on computer science to teach at our school later. Tuition fees are very expensive in Gambia. The training as a teacher amounts to 2500 € in total. This is hardly possible for a young person. Thanks to a sponsor who covers the tuition fees, Sulayman can now start his training as an IT specialist. In addition to his basic training year, he supports the lessons at our school and then starts his studies to become a teacher. We are happy to welcome him back at our school!

The tailor shop with sales room and order sewing shop as well as the hairdressing salon are finally open and accessible for customers. This is well accepted by the population. The trainees in their last year of training now have the opportunity to earn some extra money.
18 hairdressers and 24 tailors started their training in September. Altogether there are about 60 apprentices at the Skillcenter Brufut.
In Sintet, 30 tailors and 8 agricultural students have started their training.

The board team would like to thank you for your support and loyalty to the association.
Best regards from all employees, staff, students and trainees from Gambia. They send greetings and a heartfelt thank you for your help throughout the year.

We wish you a happy and healthy New Year.

Your board of directors
from Socialis for The Gambia e.V.

Small plaster – big effect!

Since October, the students of the Sannehmentereng Lower Basic School in Brufut have had the opportunity to have minor injuries medically treated at the school by trained specialists. Twice a week, Wolfgang and Sara, both medical professionals, connect the smaller and larger wounds of the children. Mostly they are expected by up to 20 children by the time they reach school. The injuries are mainly small wounds that occur during playing and romping. Often a thorough cleaning and disinfection, possibly an ointment and at the end a plaster are already sufficient. In this way it can be prevented that the initially small wounds lead to larger wounds and further problems, since the sand on the streets favours an inflammation of wounds. Many parents do not have the knowledge, the equipment or the financial means to care for their children’s wounds. Especially children with larger, severely infected wounds, who are treated for several weeks, benefit from the offer.   “The children and we are very happy when the wounds have finally healed and the treatment is completed”, the two report.

Before Wolfgang and Sara’s stay in Gambia ends in December, they will train interested teachers in the initial treatment of minor wounds and other health issues so that the bright girls and boys at school can continue to receive medical wound care.

We would like to thank Wolfgang (who did an internship at the school a few years ago) and Sara for the great help!!

3rd photo evening Gambia “up close”

Despite the summer holidays, almost 50 visitors came to the 3rd photo evening of The Gambia “up close” in the Lebensart Cafe in Dortmund. Reports from our school in Brufut and Sintet as well as many small stories from on the way were followed with great attention. During the break Miriam Lehmann collected donations for sewn items of our tailoring or for the honey brought from Gambia. We were again supported by the drummers around Anke Filipiak. We are especially happy about three new memberships.
Further information among other things a small film compilation deposited with the new association anthem of the Gambianer to the 20-year old association anniversary finds you on Heike Hagemann´s Blog

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