Spring 2013 Newsletter

The Trustees are pleased to report several areas of progress during the last 12 months, principally at Wellingara Health Clinic.

Although the clinic has been open for several years it has not been possible until now to provide ante and post natal care and so the number of patients attending was much lower than anticipated. Since last summer a medical team from another, much larger clinic several miles away visits Wellingara clinic on alternate Thursdays. On 17th January 423 patients attended (200 weighing; 44 infants; 120 immunization;45 ‘old’ ante-natal and 15 ‘new’ ante-natal)

However, because of a lack of equipment to deliver babies women still had to travel to the other clinic. Thanks to a grant of £1000 from The Gambia Experience travel company, celebrating 25 years in business, we have been able to purchase, some but not all, of the necessary obstetric equipment. The original aim of the clinic was to reduce maternal and child mortality so we hope to hear of babies being safely delivered before long.

1to3 does not have the funds to pay sufficient medical staff to enable the clinic to remain open 24 hours a day, which is a requirement of the government’s Regional Health Team.

Combating malaria: Raising public awareness of malaria is a preventative measure aimed at combating this deadly disease, which is treatable with early medical intervention. To this end the clinic staff have been spreading the word throughout the surrounding villages, at the markets and around the bore holes; school staff have been given leaflets to help them talk with the children, in their classes. Of course chemically dipping mosquito nets is also an effective method of combating malaria and dipping sessions are held but only when the chemical tablets are available. There always seems to be a shortage.

CIS Nursery School: After an inspection by the education authorities, the school was ‘approved’ as fit for purpose but two other local nursery schools were closed down causing an influx of children from those schools asking for admission to the CIS school. This school is always over-subscribed in any case and keeping the class sizes down to 35 is not always possible. Extra classes for children from the closed schools have had to be held as they were struggling with Jolly Phonics.

The Pingle School in S Derbyshire paid the costs of professional training for a volunteer teacher and she is now fully qualified and teaching at the school. Now we are seeking similar funding for a male teacher who has come from one of the closed down schools. The fees are under £550 to attend The Gambia College where training taking place in the three main school holiday for three years.

The Jolly Phonics scheme continues to give an excellent grounding in reading and spelling; the school next door (7-13yrs) to which most of the nursery children transfer, came out top in Gambia in the National Attainment Tests (NATs) which staff attribute to Jolly Phonics. The nursery head teacher Sainey Gibba is not yet back full time as he is still working for the Government  teaching JP throughout the Gambia.

Children’s Sponsorship Scheme: The number of children sponsored remains steady but there are still children on the waiting list.  Please tell your friends of the benefits these children/families experience with the small amount of extra money every month, principally to pay school fees and for books. It is possible for a small group of friends to join together to sponsor a child and this helps spread the cost. Please contact Marj Jawo if you would like details.

The areas where the mothers (and some fathers) of the children live is divided into three areas called clusters.  From the profits of making and selling soap they have paid the school fees for 15 non-sponsored needy children. A micro-finance scheme where small loans are given has proved successful with no defaulters.

FGM: Two trainers from GAMCOPTRAP (Gambia Committee of traditional practices affecting the health of women and children) gave an illustrated talk to 75 women concerning the health risks around the entrenched traditional practice of Female Genital Mutilatiom (FGM). This practice is not a religious requirement and GAMCOTRAP re-educates the local community (women and men) where there are very diverse attitudes.  They have worked in several regions within Gambia where FGM is no longer practiced and it is our hope that on day we can say the same for the girls of Wellingara.

THANK YOU                THANK YOU                  THANK YOU

Once again we send our sincere thanks to ALL who have supported us in different ways; sent us donations; some for specific purposes; some for additional funds for sponsored children and some for general funds. But we would give a special mention to:-

 

Ann McKenzie of Rhyl who runs a pensioners club who save ‘pennies’ and have donated an amazing amount again this past year.

 

To those who do not sponsor a child but continue to send us a monthly amount – you know who you are!

To the Holt family in Derbyshire who have funded the installation of a tap near the compound of their sponsored girl – this will enable people from ten compounds (approx 100 people) to have clean water. We know from reports by other tap users that children’s health has improved and that well irrigated ‘gardens’ have produced good crops.

Reigate College provided funds so that ceilings could be fitted in a classroom and the school office. Ceilings reduce the heat which radiates from the corrugated iron roofs.

Soroptimists International, Burton on Trent continues to sponsor the education of a bright young girl from Wellingara.

 

 

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You have the opportunity to transform many lives by sponsoring a child for £17.50 per month. All of the sponsored money goes to the family and the community.

To find out more, visit the FAQ page and contact Marj Jawo on 01283 561260 or by email