The latest news from
GETS in Gambia



Week ending 12th July 2019

This week we had trouble with our solar power system. This was due to a number of factors but the last straw was the dust and grime that had accumulated on the panels since the last rains, nearly 9 months ago! The simple answer was to clean the panels, with help from our plumber and electrician, Omar Badjie.




One of our biggest events each year is Graduation Day for our year 3 Skills Training Students, this year was no exception. The graduation was very colourful (as the picture shows) and was conducted to a tight agenda to pack in all the important elements of the day.





Our top table included key members of the community and staff, who support us every year plus our guest speaker, Baubucarr Kebeh from Gambia Youth and Chambers of Commerce. Mr Kebeh spoke on skills for self empowerment.

We had a cake, of course, in Gambian flag colours and prizes were awarded to deserving students, with Jainaba Camara, who specialised in Tailoring, receiving an award for Outstanding Student of the Year.

The local new TV station; QTV, was invited to attend and their report has been added to Youtube. This was taken from their news day - see (Coverage starts 20 mins into the broadcast). It includes interviews with our Education Director, Alkali Cham and students, focusing on the positive benefits of youngsters learning skills as a way of reducing poverty within their country.

 This is the final blog for this academic year and we will resume again when Sunrise opens in late September for the 2019/20 year.

Week ending 5th July 2019

Guests, parents and other school friends came together in school hall area on Saturday to celebrate the end of the LB 6 classes (top primary aged class) time at The Sunrise Centre and their Graduation onto the next level of schooling available locally, either from the state or from private institutions.

 We captured pictures of the top table, from left to right, you have -

Abdul Aziz Mboge (Head of SMC)
Sulayman Saidy (Head of Dumbarton London Corner Nursery School)
Saffie Bobb (Veteran Educationist)
Ousman Sowe (current Cluster Monitor)
Baboucarr Jarjue (Guest Speaker
- ex Cluster monitor)
Alkali Cham (Director Sunrise Centre)
Malick Joof (Master of ceremonies)

The Hall was beautifully decorated by our team at Sunrise, including; Fatou Cham, Bakary Saidy, Ousman Jaiteh, Alimatou Jammeh and one of our caretakers (Foday Jarju).

All children and visitors enjoyed music and dancing plus food, of course, prepared by Sunrise female staff. Everyone enjoyed a little piece of the Graduation cake, emblazoned with a Union Jack, as a thank you for the help that the charity gives the school and the magnificent support given by Helen, every day at the Sunrise Centre.




Our class of LB6 (around 13 years old) posed for the group picture too and although some will be unsure of their next steps in life, they all seemed happy on this day, celebrating their learning.



 Of course many others continue to learn new things every day in the school, as Mr Williams LB1 class (aged around 7 years) class showed a few days earlier. Mr Williams had them all working on Months of the Year, including spelling and ordering using several learning methods.







Week ending 28th June 2019

Skills Traing Year 3 have been working with First Aid for Gambia Instructor Momodou Laineh (pictured) to polish up their bandaging skills as they near the end of their First Aid Certificate this week.

The students really got into the whole accident and treatment processes. They immobilised injuries and did a great job of dressing the wounds. The classroom really resembled a "Disaster Area" at one time.




Skills 3 are looking forward to their Graduation next week.


Elsewhere in the school Nursery children were caught on camera trying hard to see just how many Nursery children you can get on a see-saw.


Hope they won't need help from the First Aiders later!





Week ending 21st June 2019

This week we've seen the Skills Training Students in Year 3 working on their final practicals making various fried foods including the "Good old Chip". Seems to be a favourite in many cafe and restaurant dishes now all over the world, especially The Gambia.

The final year students then posed with some more of their dishes in the Cookery area of the Bantaba. Looks like a lovely prawn cocktail from one student.


Elsewhere in Sunrise, Mr Saidy - our Lower Basic G5 teacher, was doing science; explaining the states of water (solid, liquid, gas) to the children of his class.

We've seen him do this successfully a few times now using quite crude but effective apparatus. This always enthrals the children who are really interested in the apparent magic that they'll have seen many times but perhaps not thought much about.

Here he is heating water to steam, using a local charcoal stove, before condensing the steam back into liquid water. He often uses the school kitchen freezer, when electricity is in good supply, to freeze liquid water to solid ice before showing the melting it back to liquid.

Week ending 14th June 2019

This year the Skills Training students from Year 1 and 2 chose to go on an excursion to the villages of Albreda and Juffureh and of course the famous James Island (aka Kunta Kinteh Island). This trip was led by teachers Mr Ali Bah and Mr Saihou Darboe.

This is quite an adventure for students, in many ways, since the journey is quite long and exciting, plus students effectively camp within a local school on these trips before making visits to see important cultural history exhibitions. 

The students began by travelling to Banjul and crossing the wide mouth of the River Gambia (more than 6 miles) before travelling up the North Bank road to Albreda and arriving at the Museum that explains all about the slave trade in this part of West Africa. For some who haven't travelled far, this is quite an adventure in itself.

 The students and teachers always enjoy the excursion together with plenty of time to cook, eat and discuss many topics. 

In the Albreda museum grounds there are many exhibitions to show the harsh treatment of slaves from the tribes of The Gambia. The students joined in a photo opportunity along with one of these statue groups.




Next came the trip by pirogue to James Island. This is quite a short trip but everyone took care on this journey too. Very important since many will not be able to swim at all, in the unlikely event of a problem.

 On James Island (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), one of the local guides explained all about the history of slavery here and told students how groups were held on the Island in poor conditions before making the long trip across the Atlantic on small ships, cramped below decks.


It is great to see the Students and Teachers enjoying their time on the excursion and the final picture under one of Albreda's baobab trees shows the whole group together.









Week ending 31st May 2019

Visiting the classroom in Sunrise is always an interesting experience. Sometime very noisy and other times very quiet. This time the LB 1 class (aged 6/7), taught by Mr Williams, were working on their days of the month topic, in their English Lesson. Mr Williams, guided by the text book, showed them spelling, pronunciation, and month order using different methods to make sure it sank into the children's brains!

 Whilst in Nursery 3 (aged 5/6) they were equally studious. Working hard on phonics, guided by teacher, Mrs Sanneh. We have taught a phonics approach to reading and writing since the start of Sunrise and it has been very effective for most children.

 Ebrima has been clearing out one area where we have wood that has attracted termites. This has all been removed now to the local rubbish dump by donkey cart to avoid spreading these “beasts” elsewhere in the compound. The remainder will be killed we hope, quite soon. We also took the opportunity to throw away some of our school chairs that were well beyond repair!




This week in Sunrise, as in every week, the children in Lower Basic split up for Religious Education. The children from Christian families are taught by Paul Badjan (pictured using our old office area as a classroom) whilst the majority of children in the class, who are from Muslim families, are taught by Mustapha SaidyKhan.





There is no blog next week as the school is closed for the whole week for the festival that marks the end of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr (called Koriteh in The Gambia).

Families often travel  from the coastal area of the country to their “home” villages inland so they can celebrate with their families.











Week ending 24th May

This week at Sunrise was another big step forward for us because we have finally got 20 working sewing machines in our Skills Training classroom. This is all thanks to monies raised by our long term supporters Rudy and Yolanda Nachtegaal and topped up by David and Valerie Allen.

The picture shows our sewing machine supplier Musa Camara assembling one of 5 new “Singer” machines. More information in our forthcoming Newsletter, due out very soon.

 In our kitchen we prepare food everyday for the children and youngsters to eat at break-time. Our cook, Susan Jarju often gets help from students in Skills to make all this happen as the numbers taking food each day has made the task quite a challenge. The kitchen is a bit quieter during month of Ramadan when the older students fast during daylight hours. This is due to finish early in June.



Once children are “fuelled up” they want to release all their energy and playing energetic games is very normal. Tony caught the Lower Basic girls playing a game called Akara. A local game that has been around for many years and is a bit like the UK game called “Statues”.

 Tie and Dye lessons continue, this time for Skills 1 who are shown, proudly standing in front of their work as it dries on the washing line.

Week ending 17th May

The Skills Training 3 Students have all returned from work experience and many have done well with their temporary employers. Musa Badjie had a job with the hotel group, Hypolink Village, based in Kololi and was proud to show us the Certificate of Appreciation that she was awarded at the end of her employment.

We are delighted that the total number of students being offered the chance of going back to a job after school finishes, is more than 75% this year. A tremendous result for the staff and students. Well done to all!


Another thing that the students in Skills 3 are given in their final term is a fully accredited First Aid Training Course from First Aid 4 Gambia, with trainer, Momodou Laineh, visiting every Thursday to teach a very practical course.




Helen has been meeting sponsored children and parents this week to hand out school fees to externally sponsored children. The picture shows her visitor today was Mariamama Bah’s son, Modou-Lamin. He is in Apple Tree International School where he has been struggling to get good results until his mother, a nurse, read him the “riot act” and things started to pick up. He had a better second term, despite being sick for a time.


Our Skills Training Year 3 have been completing some of their practical work this week and posed for the camera in front of the finished Tie and Dye cloth. Very colourful!

 Finally this week, the National Assessment Test exam practice sessions were run for LB3 children, taught this year by Mrs Fatou Cham. They sat a “Mock” exam in the Hall. This was the very first time these 9 year olds had to suffer the tricky process of measured assessment. The final exam taking place in a month’s time across all of The Gambia is marked externally .

Week ending 10th May

This week we kicked off the Registration process for the new school year, beginning in September 2019. Parents are quite eager to get onto our lists so that they get any places available.

The Caretakers (Foday Jarju pictured) put up our poster everyday so that word can spread that we are open for new children.


We will have places in a completely new Nursery 1 class and Skills Training Year 1 class but very few places further up the school, so demand is quite high, particularly in LB1 where we always have a waiting list.

Kaddy Darboe (sister of one of our LB teachers, Fatoumatta Darboe) came to register her 2 girls for places in the school with our office administrator Ramatoulie.



We were pleased to be given tooth brushes and tooth paste by Carole Marshal, who lives near Tony when she comes to The Gambia.  The Nursery 1 children were all given either brushes or paste by teacher Kaddy Jawara.

Kora Ceesay is pictured proudly showing off her gift. I hope that all get used in the correct way. Thanks Carole!





Week ending 3rd May

This is the first week of Term 3, returning after the Easter Holidays. The weather is still relatively cool for the time of year and dry of course, with any rain not expected until late June or even into July. 

Our newest employee, Hassanatou Bah, has now been with us for 4 months working as a classroom assistant in LB. Tony snapped a picture of her in the hall at break time, now in her staff uniform.

 The Nursery children have been doing their usual assemblies again, singing and dancing, guided by teaching staff; Kaddy Jawara and Sally Ceesay. They always seem to enjoy this time, but keeping 90 children in order in an open space like the hall takes great skill and some patience.





At break time we still have the ladies from the village coming into sell snacks and drinks to complement the sandwiches made in the Sunrise kitchen by Susan, our cook. One of the ladies, Christianna Ogunjirin, a Nigerian, is being hugged by one of the children (Majula Jammeh) who obviously holds her in great affection.

We have been trying to start a tree off to give shade in the playground area for some time now and it is good to see that we’ve finally been successful with a particular variety of tree. We think this is known as an umbrella tree, for obvious reasons.