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Week ending 21st December 2018

 We 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 points
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 Centre.


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.



 "Merry Christmas to all our friends and supporters."


Week ending 14th December 2018

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 together.

Mbacho Jallow, a classroom assistant, is seen here teaching the Nursery 2 youngsters on mats outside their room.

Mr Cham  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.



  Later in 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 ( ). 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!

Although 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 shows.





Week ending 7th December 2018

In the Sunrise Nursery 3 class  the teacher, Mrs Sanneh has been teaching drawing more complex pictures with the children.

 Mrs 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 responsibilities

Ida Jobe LB6 (Head Girl)

Sankung Gassama LB6 (Head Boy)

Sohna Ceesay LB6 (Dress code)

Jai Njie LB6 (Dress code)

Alfusainy Bah LB6 (Dress code)

Margret Mendy LB5 (Time keeping)

Ousman Cham LB5 (Time keeping)

Rokhia Cham LB6 (Environment)

Wally Jeng LB6 (Environment)

Isata Sey LB6 (Environment)

Modou Lamin Bojang LB6 (Environment)

 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 2018

This 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.

Here are 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 2018

Tony 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 2018

At 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 breakfasts.

 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 2018

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 taken too!

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 2018

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 2018

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 quiet!

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 kangaroo.

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 them!

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 busily making.

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 2018

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 experience. 

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 background.



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 bigger.

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 like Sunrise.

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 exams.

Week ending 28th September 2018

School reopened 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 Sunrise.

Saikou Tamba is in Grade 5
at Greatland School

Momodou Alieu Jallow is in
Grade 6 at Brufut Lower Basic

Rabiatou Jarra is in Grade 9
 at New Covenant school

Her older sister, Tida,
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 2016.

The records show that we have only eight supporters using Give as you Live - can we increase this number?

 Over 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

Hopefully, next 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 re-election. 

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 from you.