Week ending 21st
had the usual activities amongst all the areas of the school
during the last week of term. Sports Day took place at a nearby
games field that belongs to the Bakoteh village community. We
put up a gazebo to give shade for all the 270 Nursery and Lower
Basic children who were waiting to compete. Binta Jammeh is seen
here waving to the camera!
The children were
mostly dressed in their new Sunrise Centre tee-shirts, provided
by the PTA/SMC committees (sponsored by parents). They looked
great, wearing blue, green, yellow or red shorts to represent
their House (or Kunda) groups.
Teachers also wore
these shirts (modelled here by Kaddy Jawara).
The programme of
competitions was quite extensive, with races split by age and
distances of 50, 100 and 200meters. Relay races and Lime
(instead of an egg) and spoon, bucket, sack and three legged
races, plus of course a hard fought Tug-of-War.
This picture of the
Green team, supported by Binta, Kaddy, Mbacho and Fatou (Cham)
is just after one of their team won one of the events.
These pictures show
just a small sample of the day - below is the the older girls
200m race (with yellow winning).
Competitors in the
intermediate bucket race were neck and neck!
Our Skills Training
students kept track of winners and managed starting and finished
lines with Mr Jaiteh in overall charge of events. Thanks go to
all of them plus the committee for a successful day.
The final result was
quite close -
Yellow House 400
Green House 372 points
Blue House 332 points
Red House 312 points
We had a sound
system, for music after the events, to give a great party
atmosphere. Mr Bah and Mr Cham are seem posing by the
loudspeakers. Food was provided for all back at the Sunrise
Mr William's class (LB1) drew
pictures for the GETS Christmas card and Tony has now emailed to
all our supporters the winning card from Fatoumatta Dibba,
pictured here with Mr Williams.
Christmas to all our friends and supporters."
Week ending 14th
In the past
we have always had a spare classroom for extra activities where
we needed to split up a class but now we are using all 12
classrooms to teach every day, for our 370+ children and young
people at Sunrise, we have to be a bit more flexible on
occasions. Today our Nursery 2 children had moved out of their
classroom to allow the CRE teacher, Paul Badjan, to conduct an
end of term assessment for his Christian study group. They had a
variety of papers based on their age but they all took the test
Jallow, a classroom assistant, is seen here teaching the Nursery
2 youngsters on mats outside their room.
had a visit from some of our ex-LB6 students who had moved onto
the Upper Basic at Kotu School, nearby. Since September, Ndey
Haddy Kaira, Njange Mbye, Adama Dem and Ya Mai Mbenga (pictured
L to R) have been attending their new school and they were keen
to come back and see us.
the week we had a visit from Samba Ceesay, who is a Headmaster
from the Friendship Nursery School in Sanchaba, run by a UK
Charity helping in The Gambia, Lisa Kent Trust (www.lisakenttrust.org
). Samba was hoping to pick up some new ideas from Sunrise staff
to take back to his school in Sanchaba. He found he already knew
Mrs Sanneh, since they went to teacher training college
together. Small world!
Europeans still find The Gambia warm for their holidays, the
children and youngsters often come into school complaining of
the cold mornings and wearing extra clothes beneath their
uniforms. They then enjoy sitting in the sunshine during morning
break-time each day, as the picture of the older LB children
Week ending 7th December
Sunrise Nursery 3 class the teacher, Mrs Sanneh has been
teaching drawing more complex pictures with the children.
Sanneh had given them a drawing on the blackboard to copy then
she worked with individual children to help them create their
drawings, supported by classroom assistant, Binta Jammeh.
The photos below show
some of the pupils efforts proudly displayed by -Baboucarr Njie
and Aji Betty Drammeh.
In the Lower Basic
School, Mrs Cham has been working to create a group of school
councillors with an elected Head Boy and Head Girl. They are –
Councillors with their
Ida Jobe LB6 (Head
Sankung Gassama LB6
Sohna Ceesay LB6
Jai Njie LB6 (Dress
Alfusainy Bah LB6
Margret Mendy LB5
Ousman Cham LB5 (Time
Rokhia Cham LB6
Wally Jeng LB6
Isata Sey LB6
Modou Lamin Bojang LB6
Tony had bought
badges for all these pupils similar to those shown in the
picture below. One of our supporters, Annette Taylor was kind
enough to bring these badges out from the UK for us.
We’ve had the Skills
Training Centre registration group (NAQAA) within the school
this week to audit all that we do so that they might re-register
the Sunrise Centre to continue Skills Training for another 3
years. This has been a challenging time for us and we have done
a tremendous amount of work to try and ensure that all is in
order. During this time work continues with students from Skills
2 learning about Tie and Dye. They are pictured with some of
their work drying, along with their teacher, Mr Darboe.
Week ending 30th November
week we had a number of visitors come to see us at Sunrise.
Tessa and Ray Harding have been coming for some time now and
sponsor several children through GETS. They are pictured here in
the back of an English Lower Basic G5 class listening to
children read a story about road safety.
Our other visitors
were new to us. Annette Taylor came to see us and brought
resources from Acocks Green Primary in Birmingham, who had
collected these important items for us. Annette (left) is
pictured here with Mr Cham and her friends (from L to R),
Maxine, Carol and Jacqui.
The ladies toured the
school and were pictured with Mr Saidy and some of his pupils
from Lower Basic in our playground area.
Annette also brought a
cash gift from another friend in the UK, Jazz Saran. We thank
them all for their support and gifts.
One of the things that
we do each term is to run a Mufti Day on a Friday to allow
children to contest for prizes for the best tribal dress. Each
of the children pay a D5 fee for this privilege. The cash goes
to school funds. The Hall was packed as the picture shows.
some of the prize winners.
This week we were also
delighted to have a chance to use all of our new sewing
machines, now fully in place. We still have a few problems on
the old machines but on the day that the picture was taken, most
machines were working OK. Thanks to our supporters for helping
us fund this.
Week ending 23rd November
has now bought and collected a total of 7 brand new Butterfly
Sewing machines to take the place of the old machines that are
beyond economic repair (some held together with bits of
string!). Some of the old ones have broken parts or regularly
need adjustment during sewing tasks. The money for these
machines is coming from a number of our supporters; Joyce Turner
has raised a magnificent sum from a coffee morning that she ran
with ladies from her church, this will cover the cost of 4
machines. Thank you so much to Joyce and her friends.
Other long term supporters from Holland;
Rudy and Yolanda Nachtegaal are also currently fund-raising to
help pay for more of these machines. The picture shows Fatou
Nyassi, our skills classroom assistant who is in charge of
getting the new machines tested and ready for use.
We were delighted to
see that Fatou Sanneh has now finally received her Certificate
to show her successful completion, with Distinction, of the
Early Children Development course, from Gambia College in 2016.
This is an important step in proving that Fatou is fully
qualified to teach in Nursery. Fatou has been with Sunrise ever
since we took over the school from the community in 2011 and we
have been pleased to see staff skills developing continually
during this time.
We are hoping to
improve our Skills Training Course by teaching in Sewing and
Cookery classrooms, simultaneously. This allows practical work
to be better managed and also improve access to facilities, as
there will only be 20 students in each area at any one time. As
preparation for this we are equipping the cookery Bantaba area
with stools, as modelled by cookery teacher Alimatou Jammeh.
We are trying out a
new Sunrise Centre sign, using a UK produced, vinyl banner for
external use, mounted on a metal frame. We are holding our
breath to see how it performs in the harsh, hot and sunny
conditions of The Gambia. It was clear and bright when it first
went up, replacing the 7 year old hand painted wall sign (plus
the graffiti that it attracted).
Week ending 16th November
Sunrise the Tourists are beginning to come to see us as the
season starts. We were delighted to see Valerie and David Allen
plus Barbara and Barry Young, all pictured with some of the
Nursery Staff in the Hall.
We had been watching
the singing and clapping of the children in Nursery assembly, as
the picture shows.
Valerie was later
pictured with Wurry Mbye (in N1 - aged 4) at Nursery break time
as she sat amongst the crowd of youngsters eating their
Barbara and Barry met
up with Sunrise pupils that they (or their friends) help at Sunrise, to
check on progress and are here caught on camera too, with Aji Sohna
Mboob (now in LB5).
Students in Skills
Training Year 2 were also being pictured with their cookery
teacher Alimatou Jammeh.
The girls are (L to R)
Isatou Jallow,Isatou Ceesay, Fatoumatta Sankareh, Mariama Juwara
and Fatou Bojang.
The boys are (L to R)
Dodou Nyang, Lamin Camera and Ousman Sanneh.
Tony has also being
taking class photos with their teachers and assistants. These
can be found at -
He also took the
picture below of all the staff working in Sunrise that day.
Week ending 9th November
Still very hot, so the
skills were working beneath the big tree, folding and preparing
the white bazin ready for their next practical batik lesson.
Planning their pattern -
Brushing the melted wax
onto the material, so those areas will resist the dye and start
to make the batik pattern.
The material is hung up to
dry, several times throughout the process, before the next stage
in making the pattern.
These happy students wanted their photo
As well as learning to
recognise letters, Nursery 1 are learning how to form each
letter correctly. I think the tongue out was displaying his
concentration as he formed the letter!
Nursery 2 have learnt how
to hold a pencil correctly so are tracing the dots which
reinforce the correct formation of the letter.
These skills girls have
been making white sauce, they are sieving out the onion slices
which give it flavour leaving a perfect sauce, with no lumps!
Week ending 2nd November
This week Skills 1 were
making a fish salad starter, followed by bahal, a Wolof dish
which is a favourite meal on Fridays in The Gambia. Bahal
is made with rice, dried fish, a stock cube and groundnuts,
cooked together with hot peppers and any vegetables available.
For a dessert they made
chakery, a very sweet dish with cream poured over it. They also
made three Gambian drinks, baobob juice, wonjo and ginger and
then displayed it for all to see - and taste!
Lower Basic 2 girls were
setting themselves the challenge of skipping as low to the
ground as possible - there was a lot of laughter -
- Ndey Fatou got a bit too
ambitious and toppled but fun was had by all!
Skills 2 were in the bantaba tieing the
white cloth which they had previously dipped in yellow dye.
Some of the cloth dyed was
hanging out to dry on the line behind the bantaba, before any
further dying and ironing
Here are some of our
new Nursery 1 busily threading bricks and beads, they all enjoy
this activity, which helps them develop their fine motor skills
and learn the names of the colours.
Nursery 1 are now learning
to recognise some letters and say the sounds that they make -
they are also learning to sit quietly on the mat without
fidgeting as they listen to their teacher!
Week ending 26th October
It has been very hot this
week, with little or no breeze. At nursery break very few were
in the playground and they were mainly sitting in the shade.
Others found shade in
different areas around the school and everywhere was quite
One of Nursery 2 found a a
shady place on the steps to sit with her water bottle and colour
in a picture. Everyone brings water with them to school, for
there is a shortage of water in every outlying area supplied
with piped water by NAWEC, the National Water and Electricity
Company. The more heavily populated areas get their water from
pumps connected to a borehole.
Nursery 3 were having PE under the shade
of a big tree, taking turns to do things, the boy below was
walking like a monkey, the one before had hopped across like a
Later in the day, Mrs Cham was doing
action songs under the tree with LB1. The nursery school day had
finished and a few nursery children decided to join in with
The PTA have had some T-shirts printed
and plan to sell them to Sunrise students for PE
Representatives from Book Aid
International visited Gambia several months ago, looking at the
provision of books in libraries in schools and colleges. They
were delighted with the library at Sunrise and promised to send
us more books. These LB girls are enjoying reading some of the
books they sent.
Skills 1 have been learning
how to crochet so here are a few of the items they have been
Skills 3 latest practical
assignment was to made a dress for a little girl, it was
difficult to decide which one to photograph, but this was the
first one finished.
We had two visitors from Germany this week,
Christoph and Christina. They had never been to Gambia before so
had looked online to see what they might see or do whilst they
were in Gambia. When they found our website they emailed us to
ask if they could visit Sunrise. They had looked at our 'Get
Involved' page and seen a list of things we would like to have,
so they brought us cookery and sewing items, pens and pencils,
and light bulbs from the lists there. Visitors don't have to
bring us gifts, but we are delighted when they do! Thank you
very much Christoph and Christina, we hope you enjoyed the rest
of your holiday in Gambia.
If you have been to Gambia you will know
how Gambians love to play drums, listen, clap or dance to the
rhythm - even when they are only three years old in our Nursery
I class! Below you can see the drum they made from a tin, which
they then painted and decorated, being beaten rhythmically with
a little piece of stick by a boy, whilst the rest of the class
(and teachers) take turns at dancing and clapping to the beat.
Week ending 19th October
Rain with wind this week on Monday, but
a smaller puddle in the hall was soon swept out.
Light rain on Tuesday, many came to
school under an umbrella. Many were saying that this must be the
end of the rainy season because the rainy season stopped around
this time last year.
Mrs Cham and Lower Basic 3
decided to set up a classroom shop for practical maths
Killing two birds with one
stone, they first used some of the items brought in for the shop
to set up a still life group for their art lesson.
Walking around the school I
came across one of the Skills 3 students, Saikou Touray, cutting
up luncheon meat in the Bantaba, ready to make the daily
breakfasts available at break.
Although there are still
deep pools of water in all the big potholes in the sand roads,
with a daily temperature of 34 degrees and 35 degrees forecast
for next week, the rain around the school soon dries out, so I
saw Nursery 3 trying to hold their balance on one leg as they
made their way along the benches.
On the sports area, some of Lower Basic
2 were setting the rest of their class a challenge - they all
had to copy whatever the one in the middle chose to do.
The lad above in the yellow
shirt had some imaginative moves for them to copy!
As the hall floor was now clean and dry,
these skills students were able to spread out their material and
plan the batik patterns they wanted to make next week.
Lamin Jammeh came into
Sunrise this week to introduce himself as the Councillor
in Bakoteh who has taken over from Councillor Sanyang.
Week ending 12th October 2018
One night this week we had a strong wind
with a thunderstorm so next morning there were huge puddles
everywhere. The wind blew the rain into our hall leaving a big
puddle. By the time I got my camera out nearly all of it had
been swept out! The oyster shells have been a great help, last
year we had to walk through mud and pools of water to get into
the building after heavy rain.
Often it feels cooler after a storm, but
it is still very hot and sticky. However, everywhere is green
and the plants and flowers are flourishing. Visitors to Sunrise
are welcomed by these flowers by the entrance. It is nearing the
end of the rainy season and the paintwork has suffered as usual!
One of our caretakers is a keen gardener
and he has planted some maize in a spare corner of the school.
Two trees have also been
planted to give some shade. This one, where PE lessons
take place, has been given a cage both to help it to grow
upright and to protect it from damage by footballs and other
hazards. We hope it will grow tall and strong like the tree in
The other tree has been
planted in the middle of the playground, protected by a
wall which will provide seats in the shade when the tree gets
Even in this heat, the boys
can be seen in the background playing one of their ball games -
whilst the bigger boys are energetically chasing after a
football on the sports area the other side of the school.
As part of their
Hospitality course Skills were learning the correct way to lay a
table this week - only one cup got broken in the process! Many
of the skills students hope to eventually get a job working in a
restaurant, either waiting at table or in the kitchen.
We are pleased to welcome Ramatoulie
back in the office at Sunrise. It is always good to have a
cheerful face ready to deal with visitors. It is amazing the
amount of paper work involved even running a fairly small school
Week ending 5th October 2018
Apart from one vacancy in Grade 5, our
classes are now all full, and all are settled into their
new classes with a new teacher.
Lower Basic listening to
one of their teachers in assembly
Nursery 1 all happily
clapping with Mbacho. Next day they were jumping on the spot,
counting 1, 2 - not all stopping on 2 of course!
We now have the results of the National Assessment Tests that
Grade 5 had to take this June. All the Grade 5 pupils in Gambia
had to sit these exams on the same day with invigilators not
from their own school. The pass mark is 40% and a chart
showing the results has to be displayed in every school showing
the percentage of boys and girls achieving the pass mark.
We set Sunrise a target, we aimed for at least 80% of the pupils
achieving a pass! We nearly made it but not quite. Only 72% of
the girls gained passes in maths and only 67% of both boys and
girls gained passes in science - Grade 5 is the first year they
start to learn science.
Next year it will be the turn of Grade 3 to sit the National
Week ending 28th
on 24th September, but Sunrise was a busy place the week before
that! The parents of students already at Sunrise were coming in
to collect the material needed to make new school uniforms and
other parents were coming to see if there was a place for their
child at Sunrise. Every September there is a new intake of 3-4
year olds for Nursery 1 and these places were soon filled. We
restrict our class sizes to 30 students in both the Nursery and
the Lower Basic school so it is 'first come first served' and
many parents leave it too late and have to be disappointed.
Some GETS supporters
sponsor students at schools other than Sunrise and these
students were bringing in their school reports and a thank you
letter for their supporters. They were also bringing in their
school bills for the next year, as these have to be paid in the
first weeks of the new school year or the schools send the
children home until the fees are paid!
When they come into Sunrise
Helen takes a photo of them and that is emailed to each sponsor
together with the student's report and thank you letter. Here
are just four of the externally sponsored students who came into
Saikou Tamba is
in Grade 5
at Greatland School
Jallow is in
Grade 6 at Brufut Lower Basic
Rabiatou Jarra is
in Grade 9
at New Covenant school
Her older sister,
is in Grade 11
at SOS Senior Secondary school
Followers of our blog will
know that, this was the first year that students graduated from
Grade 6 at Sunrise Lower Basic and had to move on to an Upper
Basic school. As many of Grade 6 had been at Sunrise since
staring in our nursery, it was sad to see them leave after many
years at Sunrise. Nine of the thirty LB6 students had been
sponsored and five of these sponsors wanted to continue
sponsoring that student, here is one of them, Florian Gomez.
Florian came to show us her
new school uniform, for as she comes from a Christian family she
had chosen to go to St Therese's Upper Basic The other four
sponsored students have started at Kotu Upper Basic and we hope
to hear more about them soon.
Give as you
Live has raised over 8 million
pounds for charities since it started in 2010
GETS are registered with Give as you Live
and have been showing the logo on our webpages since September
The records show that we have
supporters using Give as you Live - can we increase this number?
4,000 online retailers will give a percentage of your purchase
to GETS if you register on this page
The percentage is only small
- but 'many a mickle makes a muckle' from the old Scots
misquoted saying! Every penny counts!
After registering with the
site you can download a donation reminder button for Chrome
which can take you to the shop you want to visit. If you
forget to shop through using this button a reminder will pop up
on every site which is part of the scheme asking you if you want
to raise money for GETS.
If you have an iphone or an
ipad you can download an app which will give you easy navigation
to your favourite stores with a fast and intelligent browser
enabling you to shop faster on-the-go.
If you don't use Chrome, ipad
or iphone just type
into your usual browser - you can still use Give as you Live
time I log into our charity account with Give as you Live there
will be many more than eight supporters!
Annual General Meeting
- September 1st 2018 - Lichfield
Our AGM this year was held at Lichfield -
many thanks to Chris and Steve Humphries for organising the
venue for us. We like to try different areas for our AGMs in the
hope of attracting new attendees, so if you know of a suitable
venue in your area do let us know.
Most people consider AGMs boring so we make
a great effort to make ours interesting, we start off with a
light lunch -
Powerpoint presentations on screen are
able to show many photos of GETS activities of the past year, so
there are no long boring reports!
Officers and trustees have
to be elected at each AGM. The officers are the same as last
year, Chairman -Tony Nelson, Treasurer - Paul Webster and
Secretary - Sue Nelson. Pat Taylor and Dawn Webster were
re-elected as Trustees, but Barry Young did not stand for
Tony is seen here with
Barry, as, after thanking him for the valuable help he gave
whilst a trustee, Tony gave him a small (but welcome!) gift.
If you think you would like
to help GETS by becoming a Trustee we would be delighted to hear