The aim of the “Let’s Learn!” project is to construct 3 nursery classroom blocks, renovate the library and the supply of classroom facilities at Charmen Nursery and Primary School, Nianija District, The Gambia.
What is the problem we are addressing?
The Charmen Primary School is home to almost 600 students, including 200 nursery pupils, in by far the poorest community in one of the most impoverished countries on earth. There are only 3 classrooms at the school and a room originally designated to be a library.
The nursery provision is entirely constructed of corrugated metal sheets meaning that over 200 students are crammed in 2 metal sheds acting as “temporary” classrooms. The school library is also used as a classroom to accommodate the growing number of children.
The facilities are both rudimentary, unsafe and oversubscribed. The roof of the library is on the verge of collapse and with no insulation or heat barriers, the metal sheds get overheated in what already are extreme temperatures making learning almost impossible. Additionally, during the rainy season characterised by heavy storms and flash floods, children often stay at home as the metal sheets do not offer adequate cover nor protection resulting in children missing out on their chances for an education. It is no overstatement to say that children risk their lives by attending the Charmen Nursery and Primary School.
Due to a successful sensitisation programme, the school roll growing exponentially in the last few years. However, no classrooms had been constructed or renovated since the school opened in the 1970’s despite the recent growth. This results in dangerous learning environments with the nursery and younger pupils being disproportionally affected with respect to the infrastructure.
In addition to the state of the facilities, or the lack thereof, the school and students are in desperate need of basic classroom supplies. Despite the teachers doing their best and working double shifts, there are simply no teaching aids or adequate textbooks here with four or five children sharing a textbook and a desk in classes of 50 or more pupils each.
How will this project solve the problem?
Behati Foundation aims to raise £17,000 to provide a simple modular construction sustainable building consisting of 3 nursery classrooms and to renovate the library at the Charmen Nursery and Primary School benefiting over 500 children who are in desperate need of much improved facilities. Additionally, with the money raised, we aim to provide basic school and classroom supplies, mainly desks, benches and textbooks so that children are empowered to learn.
By providing accessible, safe and adequate education facilities, we will give children the opportunity to learn and advance in an educational environment that is safe and sustainable.
Behati Foundation was set up in 2019 by our Founder, Magda, who after seeing first-hand the poverty, lack of access and poor quality education, decided to work with the communities in Nianija district, The Gambia, to help them break out of the cycle of poverty and ensure the children have a fairer chance in life.
Establishing close relationships with the communities is clearly a key factor in the success of our work. Despite our short existence, and with COVID-19 severely limiting our operation, we have managed to achieve some successes.
In 2019 we sponsored almost 20,000 school meals and provided hundreds of children with backpacks and learning materials so that children can remain and thrive in school. The same year, we also supplied a local health centre with some basic medical supplies after witnessing that sticks and cloths were being used as fracture supports.
In 2020, we sponsored 205 of the most in need students with educational supplies to empower and enable them to continue in education. We also distributed over 600kg of food to 50 of the worst food insecurity affected families and provided toys to the poorest children in the area so that kids can be kids.
In May 2022, with the kind help of several GitHub employees, we completed our largest project thus far by sponsoring the construction of a solar powered water system and handwashing stations at Charmen School and village. The project now provides clean drinking water and improved hand hygiene to over 1000 people, the majority of whom are children.
Our next step is the “Let’s Learn!” project, which will see an investment in classroom extensions, school renovation and improved facilities. Both volunteers at Behati Foundation, teaching staff and pupils at the Charmen Nursery and Primary School would be extremely grateful for any support from the staff at GitHub – however large or small.
Behati Foundation works on the promise that 100% of all donations go directly to benefit the people we support, so you know exactly where your money goes!