We now support the pupils of St. John’s School for the Deaf, St. Patrick’s School and St. Joseph’s Nursery School in various ways – and are continually looking for new ways to improve the lives of disadvantaged children in one of the most poverty-stricken counties in the world. The sections below show some of the ways in which we support the children.
The core aim of Project Gambia: People Feeding People is to ensure that every child receives a meal at their place of learning – something which encourages attendance and allows them to more effectively participate in education. We are now proud that we have been able to give every child in the schools a quality meal every day that they attend school, which has resulted in the attendance of the St. John’s increasing from under 200 pupils attending per day to a fantastic attendance of almost 400 pupils now – the highest attendance the school has ever saw.
In 2016, every child in the school was given a school bag packed with the essentials they require to participate in education. These included school bags, pencils, pencil cases (filled with rulers, sharpeners and erasers), towels, clothing, soap and small toys. The children were deeply appreciative of receiving what was probably the first toy in their entire life.
In August of 2018, a school bag appeal was once again created – again with the aim of delivering new school bags to each of the pupils in the schools by April of 2019. As part of this, we received donations of over 1,000 items of children’s clothing from Ann Curivan and donations of toothbrushes and toothpastes from various dental practises, including Park Dental Company in Uddingston.
In 2016, we were fortunate enough to have the funding to give every child at St. John’s School for The Deaf with 2 new school uniforms. We decided to allocate funds to doing this due to the fact that the children, previously coming to school in nothing but rags, were in desperate need of proper clothing. In 2018, we have been able to once again provide all of the children in the school with a brand new school uniform.
In November of 2017, a brand new school bus was delivered to St. John’s School for the Deaf. This allows the children who live further away from the school to receive free transport in order to allow them to travel to and from school safely, in a country where the roads are dangerous to cross – especially for a Deaf child.
A partnership with ENT surgeon Mr Arunachalam Iyer & his NHS Lanarkshire colleagues has yielded magnificent results. Over 1,500 digital hearing aids have been delivered—supporting pupils of the school and the neighbouring, hearing-impaired community.
In Lent of 2019 we managed to bring a young boy called Alieu from St. John’s School for the Deaf who was born with no ears to come to Scotland and have a life-changing surgery performed by Dr. Iyer and his team to help Alieu bear for the first time in his life on his 14th Birthday. Alieu has now returned to The Gambia and has moved to a mainstream school where he can get the best education possible.