ending 21st July 2017 - end of term
In this period we had two key events
for the Students of Skills Training. The first was
Graduation, aimed at the Skills 3 leavers, who are all going
into the world outside of Sunrise to fulfil their many
ambitions, or so we hope. We've already heard that 60% had
had follow-up offers from some of the employers that they
helped during work experience from January to April, earlier
ceremony was held in our school hall for 23 successful
Graduates. They each received a certificate and a number of
prizes were given out to
show appreciation for hard work. These
went to Yassin Jallow for English, Fatou Ceesay for Maths,
Kaddy Jarju for Sewing, Saffie Jarju for Tye n Dye &
Batik, Fatou Ceesay for Cookery and most punctual, Fatou
Badjie for Most Disciplined student and Penda Jallow for
Life Skills, First Aid and Overall Best Student. Our Head
Boy, Augustine Jatta, was also given a Certificate of
Appreciation given in recognition of his dedication and hard
Our good friend,
Nfamara Jarju did a great job again at keeping the programme
running, as Master of Ceremonies.
The hall was
beautifully decorated by our friend, Mrs Jennifer Ofili, who
was also our guest speaker this year. We were delighted to
hear her talk about "Skills for Self Reliance". This was
aimed at encouraging the students to gain confidence in
themselves to run their own businesses with the skills that
they have gathered.
We were pleased
that there were many attendees from the leadership of the
local community and of course our School Management
Committee (SMC) were well represented too. We had a top
table that included our good friend and supporter, Mrs
Fatoumatta Chow, who also lives in the local community.
Trustees weren't able to attend, Mr Cham arranged for Iastou
Jallow (one of our most confident Lower Basic readers) to
deliver a speech put together on behalf of the Charity,
written by Tony. The photo shows Nfamara Jarju watching
Isatou with interest as she reads it out.
Some of the Lower
Basic School children did a cultural performance which
And of course
there was cake and food for everyone, prepared by Alimatou
Jammeh, our cookery teacher,
along with the students.
The day was a
little challenging due to rain storms during the day but as
usual, everyone made the best of the event and all had a
thoroughly good time.
The last week of
term also was a key event for the remaining students from
Years 1 and 2, who visited the fantastic facility at MyFarm.
This is the same project that the Nursery children had
visited earlier in the year.
My Farm is
run by African Startup and is based at Nema Kunku. It is a
charity based organisation that tries to help with education
in agricultural innovation, environmental protection,
entrepreneurship and new innovative learning methods for
basic literacy, numeracy, logic and concepts. (See
The photo shows
the students and staff arriving at the entrance to MyFarm.
guided by Martin and Kelly and the staff, enjoyed seeing the
garden with many things growing including strawberries,
cabbages, nana (local mint) and tomatoes.
They visited the
MyFarm shop to look at the produce on sale before going on
to the fishpond.
Later the students
enjoyed the explanation of how a solar dryer can be used to
dry and preserve leaves.
were intrigued with this solar parabolic cooker and told how
It was interesting
to see how MrFarm use tents, not to keep heat in (as in
Europe) but to keep pests off the plants.
The students came
away with lots of ideas and we hope they will try a few out
as a result.
End of term is
now upon us. The school closes this week until mid of
September when the registration period begins, although
staff are running a summer school for Lower Basic children
to start on next year's syllabus.
This time of year
is a testing time for travelling as most surfaces are
quickly covered by the regular heavy rains that come during
the summer break period.
These photos show
just how heavy these can be. They were taken looking out of
the hall onto the playground and onto the new surface of
shells at the front of the school.
The blog will
return at the start of the new school year in late September
when, hopefully, the rainy season will be nearly over.
ending 30th June 2017
We are now well into the last academic
year with the rains just around the corner but before that
we have to celebrate the Graduation of our successful Skills
Training Year 3 students who will leave us to begin their
chosen career paths, more on this soon.
We also have our
National Assessment Test (NATS), this year for our LB3
students. The mocks have been done and we expect the tests
before the end of June, when the school will be closed to
give “perfect” conditions for concentration, if you don’t
count the heat and humidity at this time of year. The
picture shows our cool hall and the last LB3 NATS tests.
We are beginning
to get ready for next year by shuffling the furniture about
in Lower Basic 6 to make space for the children who will
advance from our LB5 class in September. The boys are moving
a spare cupboard into the sewing classroom to give more much
needed storage space.
As with all
schools cleaning up is important and we are lucky enough to
be able to afford good cleaners to go through our classrooms
most days of the week. In Nursery 2 chairs have been stacked
onto tables to make this process quick and easy. A familiar
sight in most schools!
We continue to
invest in our staff and a good example of this development.
Yassin Jammeh (Classroom Assistant, pictured here directing
the boys in LB PE class, is now about to start a LB Teacher
Training course at Gambia College, Brikama, sponsored by
Having fun in
school is really important as the children develop and it is
great to see the children who came to us as new pupils in
Nursery 1 being really relaxed and enjoying learning in
class. During a singing class, Tony caught a lovely picture
of Mirabelle Dampha clearly enjoying life!
ending 9th June 2017
week it was good to hear that Senegambia College was allowed
to advertise its training courses for the first time. This
is a new college, based nearby, who have been going through
an accreditation process with formal bodies that set
standards and grant licenses for educational institutes (NAQAA).
They are currently offering HND in
Business Management and HND in Tourism Management and we are
hoping to enrol our Education Director (Alkali Cham) in the
Business Management course to help him do an even better job
of running the Sunrise Centre.
Senegambia College is fully equipped
with IT facilities and lecture rooms to begin this work very
At the Sunrise Centre we have been
getting ready for the rainy season and each year we have had
big problems with muddy puddles in the entrance to the
school. The result is a huge cleaning challenge during the
start of each academic year. This has now been fixed, we
hope, by the addition of shells. These are often used as a
walkway, although they are rather expensive. Tony asked one
of his friends, Nyansu Bah, to go to Banjul and buy small
oyster and cockle shells from the fishermen there and
deliver them in a large lorry to Sunrise.
The local staff and male students,
including Mr Cham, spread these shells out in the entrance
way to fill in the dips in the entrance, provide a walkway
and allow free draining during the heavy rains.
Last year we provided new playground
equipment for the children and this looked very strong but
we are already having to make repairs to the see-saws since
one was broken. The students and children make big demands
on our maintenance budgets at times!
ending 2nd June 2017
This week was again very hectic as
usual. We had a lovely lady with a lovely name called
Blessing David who came to talk to the Skills students about
making healthy relationships within their peer groups.
Blessing is a Christian from Nigeria who has been helping in
many of the Skills Training Centres within this area of The
Gambia as a volunteer.
Practical work in
Skills Training involved the cooking of Sweet and Sour
Chicken. Binta Touray from Skills 1 brought samples for the
office staff. The verdict was that it was really, really
good, if a little spicy for some European tastes.
Skills Training students from year 2 have been using the
hall for practical work to demonstrate their Bar and
Restaurant cooking and serving skills. Lots of fun and some
serious learning too.
Break time in
Sunrise is also busy but in the quiet of the newly opened
library, our new library assistant (Sainabou Sambou) has a
collection of avid readers. From left to right they are;
Marie Florioun Gomez, Beatrice Loum and Ndey Haddy Kaira.
Two of these students have sponsored places at Sunrise, paid
for by our generous sponsors. They are all excellent
Our play grounds
are also busy in the breaks as the children re-fuel on their
morning snacks. Although temperatures are in the
mid-thirties today, all sorts of games and high energy
activities are normal.
The season for
tourists has finished now but it is still quite a few weeks
before any rain is due. The last rains were in October so
the country side is very dry in many areas, away from the
river Gambia, but there is still a lot of beautiful wildlife
thriving everywhere. A small example is this lovely Cream
Striped Owl Moth.
were delighted to be able to run another First Aid course on
Saturday with the help of our friends from First Aid for
). Their trainer (Mohamed) Laineh is currently running his
usual First Aid certificate course for our current Skills 3
students on one day each week of this, their final term in
Sunrise but he also came to train those of our staff whose
certificates have expired (or are new to Sunrise).
Above Mr Jaiteh
(LB1) is receiving an arm sling from the trainer, then below
Mr Jaiteh (now recovered) is putting Susan Jarjue (Cook)
into the recovery position.
Singhatteh (Classroom Assistant) is shown below practicing
resuscitation on the practice dummy.
final picture shows all the staff (including some from the
London Corner Nursery School who joined us on the course)
with their certificates. All had fun too!
Also this week we
had visits from our friends and supporters, Tessa and Ray
Harding. They are pictured with Helen after a tour of the
school and our improvements since they last came, 12 months
previously. They sponsor 2 children, one an external student
and one in Sunrise LB3.
Helen was pleased
to go to see Henry (Prestige) Nkoua on the day of his Grade
12 Graduation ceremony from Glory Baptist School. He looks
very proud to have reached this key milestone in his
education with the help of his sponsor, Kathryn Jonas.
children were drawing pictures about their trip the previous
week to My Farm. One of them is reproduced here from
Muhammed Njie (N3). A lovely colourful representation of all
that he saw and enjoyed.
Finally we had a
visit from an ex-GETS sponsored student, Alhagie Alamu, who
is part of the Bah family. He came into see Helen to collect
school fees for his brother and sister (Modou Lamin and
Isatou Bah.) GETS is very grateful to a West Country company
(PB Design) who have been helping this family with
sponsorship for many years now. Alhagie is now studying at
the University of The Gambia, doing the second year of a
Bachelor’s degree in Nursing after having won a full
scholarship from a foundation called AforA (Academy for
Academics). A great opportunity for him!
|Week ending 19th
big event this week was the Lower Basic outing to Gunjur
Reptile Farm. They enjoyed a specially prepared breakfast at
Sunrise then a trip by coach about 10 miles down the road to
Gunjur, that runs South along the Atlantic coast of The
At the reptile
farm they saw many snakes and
other reptiles, all collected from the local surrounding
forest area and kept for a time to educate the population
and passing tourists. The picture shows a brave pupil from
LB5 (Assan Jammeh – our LB4 teacher, Mrs Cham’s son) with a
python around his neck. This is an African Rock python, a
constrictor, and won’t bite children!
Mr Saidy is also
shown holding the snake for the more timid children. They
are generally very scared of snakes and with good reason
since a number are very poisonous in The Gambia but not very
common around the populated areas, luckily. Wiki shows that
there are 41 types recorded in The Gambia but only 2 cobras
and a puff adder that are common and carry very strong
venom. The puff adder is the most likely to bite people,
apparently, since it freezes when disturbed and then
strikes. Other snakes are much more timid.
A snake, called
locally a “Home Snake” but also known as a sand snake or
beauty snake is not very poisonous but common in many areas
and is being held by one of the guides at the reptile farm.
The children all
went safely onwards to play on the beach at nearby Tanji and
enjoyed a lunch that had been prepared in advance before
returning home to Bakoteh. The children and staff really
enjoy these kind of events.
In school the
students in Skills 2 had been cooking again. This time a
very spicy pizza. This was shared out by the cookery
teacher, Mrs Alimatou Jammeh, as usual to willing volunteers
ready to try the results of the test. Excellent.
We have a new
member of staff join us since Easter as a caretaker. Ebrima
Sanyang lives in Kanifing, which is towards Banjul on the
other side of Serakunda. Ebrima is very keen to help and was
caught fighting the spiders webs that regularly grow in the
school. Great to see his enthusiasm.
|Week ending 12th
week we have been struggling with running the Sunrise office
as the electricity supplies continue to be intermittent and
our solar panels are suffering with a thick coating of dust
after the wind has being bringing large parts of the Sarah
dessert down towards The Gambia. Again!
Solution – Send a
man (Aboulie) with a brush and a bucket of water to spring
clean them. Brilliant and suddenly our panels produce double
The third year
skills training students were completing their final
practicals in cookery.
Dishes like prawn
cocktail, salads and spring rolls were all laid out by proud
students for a teachers to test, and then feedback.
enjoyable” said Mr Bah.
Some of the
students also made lovely cakes. The picture shows Nema
Jallow (a sponsored student) standing proudly with her
nearly completed sponge cake.
On Friday the
whole Nursery school went to My Farm, run by African Start.
This meant getting almost 90 small children and staff across
to Nema Kunku to visit a charity based organisation that
tries to help with education in agricultural innovation,
environmental protection entrepreneurship and new innovative
learning methods for basic literacy, numeracy, logic and
guided by Martin and Kelly and the staff, enjoyed seeing the
garden with many things growing including strawberries,
cabbages, nana (local mint) and tomatoes.
They saw and fed
many animals including chickens, pigs, fish and rabbits.
introduced to new technology like a cooker powered by the
sun and played on computer tablets, set into wooden frames
for protection from tiny hands. They also had fun playing
with lego, making models and jumping on a trampoline.
Then they sat down
to enjoy a lovely meal of chicken benechin and a drink of
A lovely day that
they all really enjoyed.
|Week ending 5th
week Tony brought a plaque from Karl Jackson and had it
mounted next to the library door to show that we have
dedicated the Sunrise Library in memory of Karl’s late wife
Kare who tragically died last year. The text says:-
This Library, opened in February 2017, is dedicated in
loving memory of Kare Jackson (22/2/1978 – 22/1/2016).
She was inspired to help children in The Gambia but left us
before she could visit.
“Seashells remind us that every passing life leaves
something beautiful behind.”
LB4 class was the first to use the library after the plaque
was in place and she took the opportunity to explain to the
children about how Karl has helped us build up the library
in memory of his late wife, Kare. Mrs Cham is showing a
photo of Kare to children.
asked, two at a time, to collect books of their choice and
sit quietly to read in the Library.
Later in the week
we spotted children playing football during their PE lesson.
The photo shows Alfusainey Bah (from LB4) with the ball on
the way to score a goal, maybe!
sponsored students are still coming to Sunrise to meet Helen
and collect fees, this time for term 3. Katty Njie is
studying at Kotu Junior Secondary School and she is aged 17
doing grade 9. (equivalent to GCSE level in UK).
|Week ending 28th
This is the first week back after the Easter Holidays and
everyone has been refreshed and is looking happy. Nursery
break-time is busy and as energetic as ever.
Children enjoy the
play equipment even though temperatures are climbing again
as we move towards the rainy season.
All around the
school the children sit, mostly in groups, having their
morning drink and sandwich. It is lovely to see the
interactions of the smallest ones as they have fun together.
classroom assistants also have fun with one of the teacher's
latest child, called Musa. In this photo he is held by our
newest classroom assistant from Nursery, Binta Jammeh. Also
in the picture is Fatou Samateh (N3) who is one of GETS'
Musa is also
pictured with his proud mother (Fatou Sanneh who teaches
the office we continue to do a great job looking after the
busy Sunrise school, now with a count of 321 students and 30
staff. Our Administrator (Georgette Coker) is pictured
working with one of our most important tools, the
printer/scanner. Whenever we have electricity this is in use
producing documents to help teachers or scanning important
records for our electronic filing system, Cloud based of