The latest news from
GETS in Gambia



We're building again -  more classrooms for Nursery and Skills Training.  Thank you!
Easter holidays 2015

Some photos taken just before the end of term, we hope to show more progress after the holidays.

Entrance to new skills classroom above and the opposite side below.



New nursery wing

 School re-opens on Monday April 13th



Week ending 27th March

Next term Lower Basic 3 will sit the National Assessment tests in English, Mathematics and Integrated Studies so this week they had a mock exam under exam conditions to prepare them for the real thing. It is a multi choice exam and they have to shade in the letter they believe is the correct answer on a separate sheet from the question paper, you can see the girl at the front doing this. Like many Gambians, she is obviously feeling cold!

At the end of the week the Lower Basic visited the museum in Banjul, seen here in the grounds waiting to go inside.

The museum is packed with interesting artefacts. Below Mr Beyai is telling them about this display.


Here is Mrs Cham explaining more about this display and then asking them questions about it.

If you have been to The Gambia, you might have seen someone dressed in one of these masquerade costumes.




  They saw the oldest well in The Gambia - here Mr Beyai is telling them more about its history.

Taking notes ready to answer questions when she gets back to school!

Mrs Jawara with her group.

After all that concentration they were ready for lunch -

Then time to play in the 22nd July playground before returning to Bakoteh.

Week ending 20th March

The week ended with the nursery trip to Bijilo monkey park followed by fun on the beach. But before they went, lunch had to be prepared for everyone, then  packed ready to take on the journey.


After being welcomed by the staff, they were given information about the park and the things they could see there.

They were fortunate to see a rarely seen red monkey - and many more monkeys!

This one seemed very interested in the visitors!

Arriving on the beach -


Time for some fun in the water - 

and some games on the beach

Lunchtime -

then a little rest -

 before dancing -

or digging

and going back to Bakoteh after a very busy day!

Week ending 13th March

Here is Ijeoma Nwagbaraocha from Nursery 2 is helping to clear up the hall after the nursery have had their breakfast during morning break. Soon she will have to learn how to spell her name!

Chris and Steve found some time to relax after helping at Sunrise.



There was a mufti-day this week with beautiful many coloured traditional costumes - all the tribes are proud to show off their traditional dress.


Here is Fatou Cham explaining to Grade 3 Lower Basic the tasks she is setting for their PE lesson on that day. Behind her you can see the bantaba where the skills students do their cookery lessons - the other half of the bantana is used for batik and tie and dye lessons.


Week ending 6th March

Mr Bah has been visiting the third year students as they are all out on attachment this term.  Our new administrator, Ramatoulie, is able to drive so, has been taking him to visit them - in Helen's new Suzuki! Their employers fill in a record book reporting on the student's performance and attitude to work during the time of the attachment and many are fortunate to be given work with them on graduating from Sunrise. Momodou Fatty, here below, has been working at 2Rays restaurant on the highway. 2Rays regularly  give one of GETS students a work placement and we thank them for their support.

Meanwhile the first and second year skills students are continuing with their usual timetable. Below, two of the students are showing off the attractive batik material which they have produced. 


When not out visiting the third years Mr Bah continues to teach English and Maths, using the Lower Basic classroom, but looking forward to having his new classroom in the skills extension next September.

Here is our hardworking volunteer, Steve, busily painting chairs with GETS on their backs - he must feel it is a bit like painting the Forth Bridge, for almost as soon as he finished labelling all the chairs sent out in the first container, we sent out hundreds more in the second one. Note the coffee cup ready to hand!






Week ending 27th February

At the weekend we were able to have a table at an event held every month by an ex-pat, in return for 10% of our takings going to her charitable organisation. Items made by our skills students were sold and a clear profit of D4,125 was made.

Many thanks to Helen, Denise, Johnny, Angela and Ruth for giving up their Saturday afternoon to do this!  Ruth is hoping to make a sale above - below Helen and Angela are sharing a laugh - that's a rag rug on Angela's head, not a new hairstyle!

The skills students are also having fun on the sports area which was funded by the Driffield RAF Cadets following fund raising events  organised by Angela.


The girls seem as keen on football as the boys!


Christopher Hill and his mother, Tracy, were on a return visit to The Gambia and Sunrise this week. Here they are with their friends, Jane Derry and Joe Cherry.  Christopher. standing next to Denise, has recently started at university and hopes to continue fund raising for GETS there, just as he did so successfully at school.

Nursery I learning sounds with their teacher, Sally.

This week Sunrise said goodbye to one of our regular volunteers, Ruth McMeecham, who has spent the last three weeks helping in the Lower Basic school. In these photos she is in Lower Basic Grade 1 with their teacher, Kaddy Jawara. We hope she will be back soon.

Week ending 20th February

Only three days at school this week, as Thursday and Friday were public holidays celebrating the 50th anniversary of independence for The Gambia.

We had visitors from Lincoln this week, Steve, Alex, Matty and Helen Bogan, seen here in nursery 1 classroom with Mbacho.

Fatou Sally Ceesay, our nursery 1 teacher, returned to Sunrise at the start of this term after her maternity leave. Everyone was pleased to meet the new addition to her family, Sulayman.
We heard this week that our Lower Basic Grade 2 teacher, presently on maternity leave, has had a son and that both are well.


Building work continues and if all goes as planned, the nursery extension will be ready for use in September.
This means that we will be able to have three nursery classes, as is usual in The Gambia. For those not used to the Gambian educational system, their nursery education corresponds to infant education in the UK, so their Nursery 1, 2 and 3 correspond to Reception, Class 1 and Class 2 in the UK. 

The new skills classroom is also well on the way, so that our new buildings will have roofs before the start of the rainy season. Mr Bah will be able to leave his temporary home in the Lower Basic building and teach English and maths in his new classroom next September.

Week ending 13th February

Quite a a few changes to report this week! We have two new teachers at Sunrise, Jaiteh Ceesaynding, the new Skills teacher who is teaching sewing and needlework skills and Edrissa Beyai who is teaching Lower Basic Grade 2 whilst their teacher, Fatima Darboe, is on maternity leave.

Ramatoulie Ceesay has been appointed as administration officer at Sunrise,  and will work in the office with Helen.

Due to recent health problems Helen has decided to retire as a Trustee of GETS, however she will continue to administer the charity in The Gambia. The trustees are greatly saddened by her decision but realise that her health has to come first. Nothing will change at Sunrise, for Helen was administering the charity in The Gambia for a long time before she agreed to become a Trustee.

Nursery 1 engrossed in learning to blend three letter words.

  Ken Duesbery, who has supported GETS for many years, brought his friends Helen and Stuart Clarke, Susan and Daniel Jones, and Jean Peterson to visit Sunrise again, bringing a big bag of resources with them.

Some of the lettuces grown in our garden on the way to be sold in the local market. Lettuces grow well in the Sunrise soil - they are our best crop so far.

The week finished with the annual Ebbeh Day -
lots of food, lots of drink, lots of dancing, lots of noise
 (you can see the huge speakers at the far end of the hall)
and lots of fun!


Ina Bakker and Chris Humphries in the midst of it all!

Week ending 6th February

Some of the Sunrise and London Corner staff had a first aid training course on Saturday, run by First Aid 4 Gambia.

They enjoyed the practical sessions and proudly show below the certificates they received at the end of the day.


Our visitors this week were Giles and Judy Pepler from Bagillt who donate to our Sponsor a Class project. There are seen here, in the Lower Basic class which they sponsor, smiling while the class teacher, Fatou Cham, introduces them to the class.



If you want to know more about Sponsor a Class, click here!


Click to see Sunrise students needing sponsors,
can you help them?


  In September the present Grade 3 will become Grade 4 and need new text books. We have started buying them already and Chris Humphries has been very busy covering them with sticky back plastic so that they will keep clean and last longer.

This week the skills have been doing a practical batik printing exam in the bantaba.

One of the finished pieces of cloth - 

Nursery having a PE lesson-

Week ending 30th January

Our visitors this week at Sunrise were Alan Johnson and his daughter Denise, who have been supporting students through GETS for many years now. It was Alan's first visit to Sunrise and he was delighted to see for himself all the developments taking place at Sunrise.

The garden is flourishing, thanks to regular attention from our skills students and teachers. The new watering cans are being well used!


Some students have made signs to show the area in the garden for which they are responsible.


Two nursery girls carefully inspecting their break-time snack! That day they had fish and spaghetti in bread.  All the nursery children are given a snack and a drink at break.

Some of the Lower Basic students also enjoying their morning break.

Eric, our builder, checking on progress before going to the UK for a family wedding.

Week ending 23rd January

Chris and Steve Humphries are on holiday in The Gambia again and Steve was straight back into his usual job of painting! This 'before and after' picture shows how the paint wears away as the wind blows the sand against the wall.

Meanwhile Chris was on another of her regular jobs, sorting out cupboards. This cupboard contained items made by the skills students which could be sold to help raise funds for Sunrise.

Here is Boubacarr doing one of his regular jobs - repairing and maintaining all the sewing machines used by the skills sewing classes


No concrete mixers for our builders! They mix it by hand and wheelbarrow it round to where it is needed.

Round the other side of the building, two of the workmen are starting to lay the concrete for the floor of the new skills classroom.

Floor laid, the walls of the nursery extension are beginning to rise.

Obviously all this building work causes a great deal of additional dust throughout the whole Centre and we are all looking forward to when it is finished!


Week ending 16th January

Helen is back!  Everyone was pleased to see her back in Sunrise after her successful hip replacement operation in the UK. However as soon as she walked into the office she was dealing with a problem. She was told that during the weekend there had been a big bang and all the Sunrise electricity went off. An electrician had been called but said the problem was with the main NAWEC supply, so here is Helen on the phone starting to sort it out!

Everyone coming into the Centre is used to washing their hands by the gate before going into the building. Gibbi, or one of the other watchmen, dip a mug into the the cleansing mix and pour it over the hands, then rinse it off by dipping the mug into a bucket of clear water and  pouring that over the hands.

Over the weekend a compactor was hired to tamp down the bases of the new classrooms. Building proceeds despite the usual shortage of material that seems to occur regularly, one week the builder is saying he can't get sand, another week he can't get stones, another week it's cement in short supply. However, they are now able to start making bricks again.



The garden is flourishing under the care of Mr Bah and the skills students. They have grown many useful crops and discovered that some seeds grow better than others in our soil. Lettuce, onions, peppers and carrots are growing well, but tomatoes haven't been a success so far.


Fatou Sanneh is laughing as she shows how happy she and her class are with the extra room in her classroom. There is now room for everyone to walk round in between the tables without someone having to move to let them by! Originally the classroom finished this side of the white beam you can see in the ceiling - the old external wall so you can see from the children sitting at the tables what a difference the extension has made to her classroom.


The third year skill students are out on work placements this term to gain practical experience in working environment and conditions. It is always a problem to find places for them all as the hotel school students are out on placements at the same, but, after a lot of effort, by our staff places were eventually found for every one of our third year students.

Many of them are working in restaurants so in order to gain some knowledge of what will be expected of them, they practise laying tables and serving 'customers' during their second year skills classes.

Week ending 9th January

The big news is that Mr Darboe and Fatou Sanneh are both delighted with the extensions built onto their classrooms during the school holiday.


It may may look small in width but it has made a huge difference to the space inside the classrooms.

Besides external students coming in to collect cheques for their term 2 fees we had several more visitors this week. The first ones were Angela Guilfoyle and her son Callum. After their tour of the school Callum spent some time doing maths with Lower Basic Grade 3!

Liz and Jim Coyle, who have supported GETS for several years, visited the family of the girl they sponsor at Seino Primary School then brought a very welcome cash donation for Sunrise Centre.

  A surprise visitor was Dave England on his first visit to The Gambia. He saw the GETS website a few days before leaving home so came to find us! Dawn and Paul were still showing visitors around Sunrise so Denise told him about Sunrise whilst he waited for his tour! As you can see in the photo, before he left Dawn told him about our Sponsor a Class initiative for people who would like to support GETS work at Sunrise.

Two Sponsor a Class supporters of Sunrise, Karl and Kare Jackson, knowing Dawn would be coming to Sunrise this term sent her some classroom resources to bring out to Sunrise. Two of their gifts can be seen below where Fatou Sanneh is telling Nursery 2 the story of "Room on a Broom" before showing them the DVD.

The builders are getting on with the two new classrooms.

The new Nursery classroom and toilets -

The new skills classroom -