ending 20th July 2018
One of the last events of each year at Sunrise is the Graduation
Ceremony for Skills Training Year 3's who are leaving Sunrise to
start their lives in their first jobs. Thankfully many (around
70%) already have promises from employers who have helped us by
providing work experience places during term 2.
The first picture shows students waiting in the crowded but
beautifully decorated hall with around 200 people, for the
ceremony to begin.
At this time of year we always run the risk of the first rains
dampening the event, though it was dry this year. Of the 30
students who completed the course, GETS helped 12 individuals
with fully funded places, though we also subsidise every place
in order to keep school fees to parents as low as possible.
The people on the top table are those who represent some
important groups who have supported us. From left to right in
the picture are:-
Kemo Jawara (London Corner Nursery School)
Mr Mboge (School Management Council Chairman)
Nyhally Samateh (Guest Speaker )
Madam Fatajo (NAWEC Director's wife)
Malleh Sabally (Dept of Education - Cluster Monitor)
We had food and cakes of course, to cut. One was sponsored by
Jama Ceesay's and Sainabou Kebbeh's work experience employers -
Larry's Fashions and Jennifer Ofilli .
was made in Sunrise by the students (with the Sun on it!)
Some students posed for individual pictures -
We had a group photo too.
This is the last blog entry for this academic year as the term
finishes on 20th July for the summer (often called the Green
season by the tourist industry or the rainy season by locals).
We will begin to capture some then events that happen next term
when the Academic Year of 2018/9 gets under way with new
opportunities and some challenges.
ending 29th June 2018
Last week the big
event in Sunrise was the Graduation day of the oldest children
in Lower Basic (Primary). These children are aged 13+ and some
have been with us at Sunrise for 8 years now. They are shown
firstly in the picture at the start of this year with their
class teacher, Mr Ousman Jaiteh.
Guests, parents and
other school friends came together in a beautifully dressed hall
area to celebrate the end of the LB6 classes time at The Sunrise
Centre and their Graduation onto the next level of schooling
available locally, either from the state or from private
The top table of
dignitaries were as follows from left to right:-
Mr Mboge (School
Management Committee chairman)
Isatou Lamarana Jallow
(School Management Committee treasurer)
Alkali Cham (Sunrise
Nakulang Ceesay (Guest
Speaker from Gambia College0
(Cluster Monitor or school Inspector)
Malick Joof (Master
of Ceremony from Bakoteh Proper School)
The 30 students are
shown waiting in the Hall, reasonably patiently, for everything
to come together.
There was food of
course, for everyone of the 200+ attendees. This then becomes a
major logistical and quite costly challenge to organise a great
party, headed up by a lovely Graduation cake.
After all the
speeches, managed by Malick Joof (our Master of Ceremony)the
class of Lower Basic Grade 6 were each presented with a
Graduation Certificate and proudly posed in the final picture to
show these off.
ending 22nd June 2018
After the break last week we are now into
an exam period. The Hall is used in the cooler mornings for both
Skills Training and Lower Basic final term exams. No chance of
cheating here, despite sharing tables because of how different
the subjects are and careful invigilation.
The exams are a little
early in the term but with rains around the corner and the
temperatures heating up to a 38 deg C peak this week, the cool
mornings in the open sided halls are essential for
The Lower Basic
children usually have session on the sports floor during their
break-time, totally ignoring the climbing temperatures. Some of
the boys are now pretty good at football. The girls tend to play
tennis ball games at this age.
Every day the Sunrise
Cook Susan Jarju prepares food and drink for the Nursery
children, sponsored by supporters of GETS so free of charge to
A fairly patient line
of Nursery children wait to gather up a sandwich and an orange
ending 8th June 2018
It’s nice to see the children enjoying life
in school. In Nursery 2 the children have been learning
their numbers up to 20. Aji Betty Drammeh was clearly
thinking hard about the questions that her teacher was posing.
Later N2 also did some
great colouring too and it was impressive to see the care put
into the drawings by the children.
break-time every day we have a regular troop of ladies from the
local community selling food and drinks to the children and
students to supplement the sandwiches produced by our kitchen.
One of our long time regulars is “Auntie” Chris (Christianna).
She is a Nigerian Christian. Sitting with “Auntie” is our latest
Caretaker, Ebrima Sanyang, in his Union Jack woolly hat.
The Nursery children
all try and wear off some of the energy that comes from eating
by feverish playground activity at break-time. Today the
see-saws were getting a hard time as part of their work-out!
Next week we have a
break from school as the end of the Holy month of Ramadan comes
to an end and some families travel back to their local villages
to celebrate the end of the month long, day-time fast for adults
with the special day known as Koriteh (properly known as Eid al-Fitr).
Prayers then celebrations and feasting usually follow.
ending 1st June 2018
At the weekend we organised our final
delivery of oyster shells to complete the surface of the
entrance to Sunrise. This is the 3rd lorry load of
these expensive items but they have worked really well,
preventing mud in school and draining water away in the rains.
The process of loading
the lorry at Denton Bridge (near Banjul) is all done by hand
before the tipping lorry travels to Bakoteh and Sunrise to
deposit a completely full batch. We supervise all of this to
ensure that the lorry is really full. No weigh bridges here of
Thanks to the boys in
skills training, supervised by Mr Cham (Ed Director) who came in
on Saturday to spread the shells, once again to complete a great
Twice a week we have
Nursery Assembly. It is always carefully organised because
trying to get 90 under 6 year olds to stand still and in lines
is quite an achievement. I’m always amazed at just how well it
works. Today our Classroom Assistant is managing the singing for
the children. They always seem to enjoy it!
Later in the week
Tony managed to catch one of the children going home from her
LB3 class. They had been making hats in craft and the picture
shows Aji Jainaba Nyang looking somewhat bemused at the request
for a snap.
ending 25th May 2018
The Lower Basic children always have an
important test every year to check standards across all the
schools in the country, called National Assessment Tests (NATs).
One year the LB Grade 3 do it (aged 8-9) and the following year
LB Grade 5 (aged 10-11) do the test, so that all children are
eventually tested at one or
the other level.
This year it was the
turn of LB5. Mr Saidy has been preparing them and part of that
is a mock exam over the Friday and Saturday last weekend. The
children laid out tables in the Hall to set up exam conditions .
. . . . . . and the results were excellent:-
Maths 90% passed
Science 87% passed
We hope that they can
do this well, or even better, in the real exam in June.
One of our most
experienced First Aiders is Sulayman Jobe, shown here auditing
the first aid boxes. He is sometimes called upon to help
children who hurt themselves in the hustle and bustle of life,
playtime and PE lessons that are part of Sunrise every day.
Skills Training Tie
and Dye practical work continues with students from Years 2
using sewing and also plastic wrapping to keep dyes away from
some of the cloth to produce patterns. Dyes are carefully
applied to specific areas before being “fixed” and the
dyeing the cloth all these stitches have to be carefully
This picture shows the
quality of the finished patterns in many designs.
Skills Training Year 3
always do a First Aid Certificate course at this time of year;
between completing their work placements and graduating from
Sunrise. This is made possible through the wonderful
relationship that we have with the charity First Aid for Gambia
- for which we are extremely grateful.
Their Trainer, Momodou
Laineh, is seen in the picture with students intently watching
him show CPR techniques with a dummy, much as you would see on
any first aid training course in UK.
ending 18th May 2018
The students from Skills Training have been
working on Tie and Dye practicals this week. Skills Year 2
were working in the classroom with their teacher, Mr Saihou Darboe.
Outside the students
from Year 1 had put their materials through the process and
produced some excellent finished cloth. The students pay to
bring in the materials so they are free to take home the
finished goods to make up into dresses or whatever.
Some of the Skills 1
class posed for pictures under the clothes line to proudly show
off what they had done. They often cover their uniforms in their
own clothes to protect it during practical sessions.
Our friends Rudy and
Yolanda from Holland brought us seeds and special
containers/plugs to allow quick germination, when they visited
earlier this year.
In Lower Basic, we have been letting the
children try out starting these off. Mr Jaiteh, LB6 teacher, has
been the latest teacher to see what comes of these. Since the
names of the seeds are in Dutch, we have had to find out what we
Mrs Cham’s class, LB4,
planted seeds earlier this term and now have a tray of seedlings
ready to transplant. Amongst them are tomato and sunflower.
Helen is still
getting some external students coming for money to pay school
fees for term 3, despite that fact that it is almost half way
through. This week Jainaba Badjie came to see us to collect fees
for Brikama Methodist Academy, where she is in Grade 11. Some
schools seem to be much more relaxed about collecting cash than
ending 11th May 2018
Lower Basic 2 one of our Classroom Assistants, Yassin Jammeh,
joined Mrs Darboe’s class during a Science lesson on types of
soil. Yassin is actually on a full time teacher training course
at Gambia College at present but has come to join us for formal
teaching practice as part of her course training. Yassin had
taught a Maths lesson earlier in the day, supported by Mrs
Darboe. Maths is one of her favourite subjects.
Science class on soil types was very interesting with the Year 2
text book showing how to test for differences in soils found in
The Gambia (and many other places of course).
demonstrated the differences with several difference soil
samples to get her points across.
On Monday, at the end
of school, we had another visit from Blessing David, a Nigerian,
and her colleagues, (Mariam Faye, a Gambian and Fabiola Pfaeffli
from Swistzerland). Blessing was representing an organisation
called Girls Pride Foundation which is seeking to discuss good
relationships, sexual abuse, pride and dignity. This compliments
the work that we already do at Sunrise through Mr Darboe’s Life
Skills course. Blessing hopes to run a club amongst the Skills
Training Students (aged 15-25 years) to encourage a wider debate
on these topics over the coming weeks.
In the Hall the space
was being used again for spreading out Bassin cloth to be marked
up, prior to sewing and dyeing patterns of many sorts. The photo
shows Fatou Sanyang from Skills 1 intent on her work.
ending 4th May 2018
Every week we have assemblies in the Hall
for each of our schools. Apart from singing activities, many
things are also discussed at these events and it always ends
with the singing of the Gambian National Anthem.
This week Tony
took pictures of the Lower Basic School children singing with Mr
Williams (he is also our school choir master) and then at the
end of the Nursery assembly when the teachers carefully manage
the children back towards class.
The flower beds
along-side the Hall area have been replanted by Mr Mboge,
one of our caretakers, who is interested in gardening. He has
also helped us with planting some new trees within the school.
We now have to carefully water these during the remains of the
dry season but from July onwards, heavy rains will help to
establish all these plants.
Nursery PE was another activity captured
this week and it looks like our Classroom Assistant, Mbacho
Jallow, is “herding cats” as the expression goes.
This week in the Hall
we also had an exhibition by the Skills Training Year 3 students
of their final practicals for Cookery. They made things like
Chicken Afra, beef stir-fry with noodles and baobab juice,
battered fish and chips and chicken wraps (Shawarma locally).
Students posed in
various groups, including the whole class, around the food and
the staff were quick to do a final taste test too, of course.
ending 27th April 2018
The Nursery teachers
followed up their visit to Banjul Airport and the beach during
the previous week by asking the older children to draw pictures
of the day out. Mady Mbye (N3) produced the best of these
drawings, shown here.
The Skills Training
Year 3 students have now returned from their work placements in
the Tailoring or Tourist Industry sectors. We were delighted to
find that around 70% of the students had been offered the chance
to go back to work after school has completed. Some were even
working for employers immediately after school already. This is
a great result for the students, Sunrise staff and for GETS too.
We are now offering
registration of school places for the 2018/19 academic year. We
have very few places except in our N1 entry class and first year
of Skills Training because very few who join us then drop out.
This week the 180
Lower Basic children and staff went off to Kachikally Crocodile
Pool. They left Sunrise on coaches to travel to the Bakau area
to visit the pool and learn about the lives of these reptiles
and the sacred pool.
The children had to
queue quietly to enter the pool area in a long line.
They listened intently
to the explanations, asked questions, took notes and drew
They asked questions
like “What was the age of the oldest crocodile and does it have
a name?”, asked by Beatrice Loum. The answer came back –
“Charlie is 75 years old!”.
Later the LB children
went onto the beach to play and have a picnic.
Week ending 20th April
has now restarted after an extended Easter Holiday, for local
council elections, and despite warm sunshine in the middle of
the day, the mornings and evenings are quite cool. The children
generally come well wrapped up as a result of this.
Skills Training Students are coming back to school after their
work placements in Term 2 with local businesses. Some have been
kept on during the evenings and weekends and others have had
offers of long term jobs, proving that they have made a useful
contribution to the business where they have worked and that
there are vacancies. We were pleased that Fatou Ceesay received
a certificate of appreciation from her employer (Maroun’s
Bakery). Fatou said she had really enjoyed herself and learnt a
the 90 Nursery children went with their teachers and some extra
helpers to Banjul Airport to see how it operated.
very excited of course when they left Sunrise and were split
arrived at the Airport by coach and reformed their groups before
going into Airport Departures for explanations about how an
are entering the Departure Lounge with their teachers, Fatou
Sanneh and Kaddy Jawara.
Later the children
went off to the “Wide Vision” beach at Brufut for fun and games
by the sea. They also ate a picnic of course, prepared by the
staff before they left school.