February 2009 news update

We would like to thanks all our many friends – sponsors, individuals, organisations and schools who continue to support us by holding fund raising events, or make regular donations – every single pound counts and we and our friends in Wellingara are most grateful.

Wellingara Community Health Clinic

The building of the clinic is complete and open one day a week, although not all the equipment is yet supplied. A 40’ container was shipped to Banjul last December 2007 and transported to Wellingara where it was unloaded by many willing hands.  As we were not able to secure sponsorship for the shipping costs, some of our valuable funds had to be used to pay for this.

Although there is an acute shortage of medical staff in the Gambia, thanks to the support of Kombo North Christian Children’s Fund two nurses have been appointed to operate a one-day-a week clinic session. CCF will pay the salaries of these male nurses (one a midwife , the other an eye specialist) Omar and Siaka are very experienced staff and have past experience in setting up and running a community clinic. They have told us that not only will the Wellingara community (pop 17500) and nearby villages use the clinic but that patients from much further afield will come as a new clinic is also perceived as being better than they one they currently visit.

Borehole at the Nursery School 

The borehole on the school site, paid for by a supporter from England, has greatly improved the life and health at the school. Not only can everyone have daily access to good quality drinking water but it has also meant that some new nursery play activities have been introduced.  The youngest children love their water play sessions and sand can be cleaned for use in the sand bowls.

An extension pipe and tap means that water can be collected by villagers at certain times of day (out of school hours) thus saving time and energy used in carry water for longer distances.

Generous donations will save lives 

Drinking Fountain Association gave a grant for two taps to be connected to the mains at another village nearby – Sinchu Alagie – thereby reducing dependency on a very old well, and again, cutting carrying distances for the women of this village.

Burton Soroptimists continue to support 1to3 with donations throughout the year including money towards the motorbike, which is used by the Sponsorship social worker as he monitors the families around the village.

Ashbourne Rotary Club also helped with the purchase of the motorbike.

The Pingle School, South Derbyshire continues to be generous in their support. They paid for the cost of the motorbike (see above)
And the proceeds of an end-of-term non-uniform day have for the three-year Early Child Development training course for a young woman, currently working voluntarily at the nursery school.

Open Gate, Derbyshire have made a third grant enabling a women’s garden project (like allotments for vegetables) to have a new well dug. This is an important contribution in the current economic climate, as food costs have risen greatly.

Donations in memory of the late Robert Fox, a regular supporter together with his wife, will be used to organise an annual football tournament in Wellingara.

Donations to 1to3 in lieu of wedding presents will be shared between drugs for the clinic, further ECD training for the school staff and provision of curriculum materials for the schools. Donations in lieu of Gold Wedding presents will be used for eye care at the clinic.


Should any of our supporters have an imaginative idea for fund-raising we would be glad to hear of it, as we are always seeking new ways to raise much-needed money. Click here to get in touch regarding fundraising

Sponsorship update

We are very pleased to say that as at February 2009 133 are sponsored but we are always seeking more sponsors for the many needy children on the waiting list.  The current downturn in the economy has not only affected the UK but has had a considerable negative impact in the Gambia. Shortage of food, particularly rice, has meant a considerable price rise and some families are facing severe feeding hardship. All transport costs have risen.

Two years ago the exchange rate was about 52 dalasi/£1 but is now down to D35.  This means that sponsored families receive less in dalasi each month as sponsors from UK still donated the same amount in Sterling. The 2007 increase in sponsorship donations has been completely wiped out by rising prices.

Although our assistant sponsorship social worker has suffered a very severe bout of malaria during the rainy season, he is doing a great job monitoring the sponsored families; supervising the writing of letters and drawings from the children for their sponsors and following up the numerous queries sent to him by our Sponsorship Secretary, Marj Jawo (see contacts page)

If you think you would help a child by sponsoring, please contact Marj who will send you the sponsorship package. All details are on the FAQs page. Click here for FAQs.

Adult Literacy 

These classes (in three local languages) continue each week with fluctuating numbers according to the season.  However, soap making and tie/dye activities do provide funds for their savings account.

The ability to write your own name, recognise numbers and read the information on clinic cards has made a huge difference to the lives of many women who have attended the classes over the past few years.  Several times we have witnessed the thumb printing change to signature in the sponsorship receipt book – a clear sign of pride and progress.

Mosquito nets

Our friend, John Billingham, and some of his supporters donated funds to equip the bed net dipping centre at the clinic.  The chemical dipping is effective for several months and a dipped net gives better protection from malaria than an un-dipped one. In order to encourage community members to bring their nets for dipping the treatment is currently free but a nominal charge may have to be introduced later to offset the costs of the chemical tablets which are dissolved in water prior to dipping the nets.

During the 2008 summer holidays a survey was carried out by the teachers to discover which families of the nursery school children still needed nets. Thanks to funds from some of our supporters we were able to send the money for the 94 nets needed. As with all other commodities, the cost of a double net which will protect up to four children, has risen from £3.50 to £5.50. The nets are made locally and are of a good quality and size. Malaria Read more about how you can help prevent these children from being infected with malaria.

Jolly Phonics

Sainey Gibba, head teacher at the nursery school, reported that at the end of the third year during which Jolly Phonics had been taught, far more children than before were able to ‘comfortably read and spell’. Thanks are given to Chris Jolly of Jolly Learning Ltd who has donated many JP resources and funded the expenses of five JP trainers to go to Gambia to train several hundred teachers from around Gambia in the use of this scheme as an effective method of teaching children to read, write and spell. A VSO volunteer working with the Gambian Dept. of Education organised this training last Easter. Sainey is now the official JP trainer for the Gambia and other schools visit Wellingara Nursery School to see the scheme in action.

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