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As Sunrise expands we will need more funds to run the centre - could you help us by sponsoring a class?
Week ending 30th March 2018

End of term and a very short week - only 3 days before the break for Easter. Rudy and Yolanda Nachtegaal visited Sunrise just before the break, bringing many gifts as usual Clocks are always useful as they seem to break down frequently in The Gambian climate!

Helen and Sainabou were delighted with the cuddly toys -



Sainabou had fun with the bubbles -

Sunrise and the blog have finished now until school resumes on 16th April.

Happy Easter everyone!

Week ending 23rd March 2018

Lower Basic and Skills were doing end of term exams most of this week, so there will not be many pictures of their activities. However, I did get this photo of LB 5 with their heads down busily writing answers to their question papers.


Skills 1 were revising adding and subtracting fractions before their maths exam when I popped my head into their class.

Skills 3 are all out on work experience this term. When doing some shopping in Marouns, we were greeted by Fatou Ceesay who has been enjoying working in their bakery this term so we had to take a photo!

This week Mr Cham and a caretaker planted a tree near the skills classrooms, we hope it will grow and provide more shade in the heat of the midday sun.



Due to the end of term exams all the rest of the pictures are from the Nursery classes! Below, Mbacho is helping Nursery 1 to count and match the dots on the dominoes.

Nursery 2 were also having a maths lesson, matching numerals with the number of dots. Sally Ceesay, their teacher, is back from maternity leave but has Tombo on her back as she is still feeding him herself.

Nursery 3 have moved on to more formal maths - completing addition and subtraction sums with the help of counters - plastic bottle tops come in very useful here!

After that hard work a bit of relaxation - PE. A week or so ago there were pictures of Nursery 3 doing balancing exercises on these benches, the right way up. Now they have progressed to using the benches upside down so they have to balance on a much narrower surface.

A lot of phonic work is done in all the nursery classes with the result that many of Nursery 3 can blend simple words and start to read little books. Fatou is reading to Dawn here about a cat with a hat, sitting on a mat. Dawn and Paul regretfully said goodbye to all at Sunrise at the end of this week as it was time for them to go home to the UK.


Week ending 16th March 2018

Our visitors this week were Mary Ikin, her daughter. Louise, and her friend, Christine. Mary sponsors a boy in Grade 11 at Gambia Senior Secondary School. Here they are with Sainabou, our new administrator and Barry, one of our trustees.

They were shown all  around Sunrise by Fatou Sanneh, our Nursery 2 teacher. Below, Lower Basic 3 are standing up to give their usual welcome to visitors to Sunrise.

This week there was an Open Day at Sunrise. Many Nursery and Lower Basic parents came to see their children at work on that day, and some also came the next day, as well!


Nursery set up a special welcome for their visitors with a table below displaying samples of their work.

Here are some of N3 busily making necklaces, bracelets and rings from pieces of coloured straws for the display table.


The skills students set up several display tables around the school showing a variety of work done in the sewing lessons.

Although not many skills parents came on Open Day, all the other visitors were very interested to see the various displays.

At the moment many of the skills students are buying beads to decorate flip flops which they are then selling to their friends and neighbours, making a profit on each sale. Maybe this has been inspired by Mr Bah's lessons on business skills and entrepreneurship!

Lower Basic Grade 5 have been learning about the colour wheel and how to mix colours. As it was Commonwealth Day this week and now Gambia  back in the Commonwealth, the Gambian flag was used to show that blue and yellow make green!

Week ending 9th March 2018

Our new administrator at Sunrise, Sainabou Njie, started this week and says she is really enjoying being at Sunrise.

A memorable week for her as it was also her birthday this week. The nursery sang 'Happy Birthday' to her during their assembly!

Plants are beginning to grow in the school garden. Rudy and Yolanda left a lot of seeds when they visited us last, but unfortunately for us their names are all in Dutch -

Cavola, Gouds Bloem, Juffertje, Peultje, Phacelia, Rucola, Wortel, Groot Kaasjes Kruid

If anyone reading this can translate these names, please email  We tried Google translate without much success.

A visitor this week was Maureen Boyd. She had heard about Sunrise from Chris Humphries and told her that she would like to sponsor a child at Sunrise. Here is Maureen with Ida Jagne, the child she chose from our website page showing students in need of sponsors.

There are still eleven students on our Need Sponsors page. Seven of them are in Skills Training Two so just need help with the fees for their final year at Sunrise. During this year they spend the second term on work experience and many of them are successful in getting a job when they graduate.

Can you or anyone you know spare 120 (or 10 a month) to give them this vital chance of helping themselves and their families?


Mr Williams has started a school choir. He asked if GETS would buy some drums for him to accompany the choir singing We know he is not the only one at Sunrise who can play a drum so gave him the money and off he went, coming back with these drums in their protective coverings.

Here he is with the choir using the drums for the first time. They practise after school on a Friday when all the other students have gone home.

Mrs Cham was teaching LB 4 about different kinds of angles so had given them all a piece of paper.

They folded their paper carefully in half, then in half again so that they  made a right angle at the corner. Mrs Cham then gave them a worksheet showing several different angles and then asked them to use the folded paper to find out which ones were right angles.

Nursery 3 were having fun in PE again this week. This time they were working on balance. First it was easy, they just walked along the bench, but then they had to step through a hoop  several times as they went along the bench.

Week ending 2nd March 2018

Our regular visiting volunteering handyman, Steve Humphries, has been adding wire to the vertical display bookcases, to prevent the books from tumbling off.

The picture shows how useful this modification was.

Below, Bubacarr Jallow is busy cutting out this material which has been tie-dyed by our skills students. As part of their sewing curriculum, Skills 2 students sew the Sunrise uniforms which will be needed by the new skills students starting at Sunrise next  September.

One of our trustees, Barry Young, is at Sunrise now and he and his wife, Barbara, met the students whom they sponsor. They went to visit their skills student  at the tailoring shop where she is on attachment this term and here they are with Aji Sohna Mboob from the Lower Basic.


The local welder man has been into school this week as we had two jobs foe him. The first one was to repair the seesaw yet again and here is Steve inspecting the repair, hoping it is third time lucky!

The second job was to make secure cage storage under the worktops in the cookery side of the bantaba. This will give room to store securely the large cooking pots and other large items used by the skills students.

Walking around Sunrise looking for interesting pictures for the blog I saw Nursery 1 were learning to recognise numerals then count the number of bottle tops to match the numeral on the card which they had been given.

Then I saw Nursery 3 doing PE. Whilst the boys were energetically playing football, the girls were taking turns to see who could do the most number of skips without stopping. This little one jumped all the way to twenty before she stopped. I wonder what their mothers said about the white socks when the girls got home!

Week ending 23rd February 2018


We had a very busy week that culminated in an "Ebbeh  Day", more later.


We are always happy to see our friends and supporters out in The Gambia. This week Helen met up for a meal with Ken and Jean Duesbury (on the right) along with their friends Sue and Daniel Jones and Eleanor and Stuart Clarke (on the left). Ken and Jean always bring us a donation and some extra resources, for which we are very grateful. Some of these will become gifts for Graduation prize awards to Skills Students. Thank you.



 A big event at Sunrise is always the luncheon sale  called 'Ebbeh' day which was held on Friday. The aim this time was to involve the skill students to do all the shopping, preparation of the food and costing of the sales. They did it very successfully with the supervision of Sunrise staff. All the profits go to school funds.


Before the event there were adverts on the outside of the school showing all that was happening.

Students prepared masses of food, using great big pans full of the ingredients -like the cassava shown here.

Many hands make light work-

Loud music was provided, as usual, with a local D.J.




Local families and children, many from our school, came in to queue and pay for tickets for food and drink.



The hall began to fill with eager customers.



There were stalls in most areas of the school to sell the Ebbeh (a thick crab soup), Chakri (sweet couscous), Wonjo (sweet cranberry-red juice made from Sorrel), Piped Biscuits and Naan Mburu (made from the Baobab tree fruit).





 Naan Mburu was sold under the shade of the large tree.



Mr Bah was very much in attendance to supervise and encourage everyone.



The day was deemed a success with Mr Bah declaring that we made a profit of nearly 25% on sales. Well done to all.

Week ending 16th February 2018

The key event we're publishing this week is a summary of the many, many pictures taken of the children and students on Mufti Day. This is a day when youngsters at Sunrise all pay a small fee, to help school funds, to allow them to wear traditional tribal costumes rather than their school uniforms.

A lot of effort goes into this and certificates and prizes were given for the best dressed in different areas of the school.

Interesting that both costume style and material patterns relate to the tribal group.

For more information of Tribal and Ethnic backgrounds go to -


 Lower Basic

The collage of pictures shows the prize winners, from youngest to oldest..

Top row - Fatoumata Ceesay (Nursery 1), Modou Lamin Mbowe (N3), Sohna Jallow (LB1), Veronic Mendy (LB2)

Second Row - Alima Jarjou (LB2), Fatima Jarjou (LB2), Isatou Jallow (LB3), Omar Joof (LB4), Margaret Mendy (LB4), Isata Sey (LB5), Fatou T Cham (LB6), Marie Manga (Sk1), Saikou Touray (Sk2)


Week ending 9th February 2018

 The Education Department in The Gambia (MoBSE) are represented on the ground by their school inspectors (known as Cluster Monitors) and over the many years helping at Sunrise, GETS has had the support of Mr Jarjou as our Cluster Monitor. He attended meetings with the community and monitored our performance as well as answering questions on a regular basis to make sure that we got things right, as often as possible. Mr Jarjou has moved on to another area within MoBSE now and our new Cluster Monitor, Mr Malleh Saabali, came to see us on Monday, pictured posing with Mr Cham (Education Director).

We were pleased to see two more of our supporters visiting on Wednesday, Angela Gourlay and Dean, who help us by sponsoring a class. They brought a variety of resources including; skipping ropes, pencils, crayons and games. They were photographed in the office with Mrs Cham from LB4 and Mr Cham (No relation!).

Also we have had our regular visit from Chris and Steve Humphries who help us in so many ways, each week of their stay. They also dragged daughter Selina Henson along too. Selina is seen posing with mum Chris and Mr Cham.



Selina seemed to have no problem fitting in with the children, particularly in Nursery, pictured here joining them at break for breakfast. 

Also joining Nursery 3 in the classroom!

 Last but by no means least, we're delighted to welcome back Ruth McMeechan. Ruth has joined us again for an extended period, helping teachers and assistants out and sharing her teachings skills, acquired over a lifetime of working in education within the UK.



Week ending 2nd February 2018

We were pleased to have more visitors this week. Judy and Giles Pepler, whose Sponsor a Class donations help us keep Sunrise running, came to see how everything was going. It was lovely to see them, shown here with Mr Cham.

Later in the week Helen captured a photo of Mrs Cham with her notification of passing her Primary Teaching Certificate (attestation) which the charity had sponsored for her at Gambia Teacher Training College. This adds to her previously sponsored ECD qualification a few years ago. Once again, we all congratulate Mrs Cham on her success after all her hard work. Each teacher that we've sent to Gambia College costs GETS more than 600 so we're really grateful that our generous supporters have allowed us to continue to help educate the staff at Sunrise too. We continue to need more funds to help in this important area.


Chris Humphries has been busy with a crochet hook again! This time it was a purse for each child in Nursery 1. Chris' husband Steve Humphries was there at the vital moment to capture it for us. The children were being taught how to use a purse to keep money safe. It is great to see Steve transfer his general handyman and painter skills to photographer to help us with more pics for the blog.

This week the students in Skills Training have been making spicy chicken noodles in Cookery. The picture shows the students demonstrating the service of this, as perhaps in a tourist restaurant.

It is easy to forget that many people in The Gambia have never eaten in a restaurant or eaten from an individual plate with a knife and fork. Here, it is quite normal to eat from a common plate using just the right hand and noodles would certainly be unusual too.

 Mr Bah, our Maths and English teacher, is seen above enjoying a sample of the food. This is a normal treat for staff!


Week ending 26th January 2018

The students in Skills Training have been learning about the possibilities of decorating Flip-Flops. These ubiquitous shoes were being wrapped in coloured wools. I'm not sure how long they would last or how comfortable they were to wear but they seemed to enjoy the challenge. It's interesting to note that many students and pupils are wearing extra clothes (over their uniforms) in the mornings during the cold (sub 20 deg) winter mornings!

 Our friend, Buba Jallow still comes 2 days a week to keep our aging sewing machines running. This example seems to be a Chinese copy of the original UK made Singer sewing machine that many people seamstresses know so well. The students adjustments when they feel things aren't perfect often put more problems IN to the machines and Buba has to sort them OUT again!

 These girls chose to read in our library rather than go out to play during their break.


It's great to see the youngsters growing in confidence and enjoying school. Here Nursery 2 pupils are lining up to leave Assembly for their class activities.

The day this picture was taken, Nursery 2 were singing and dancing in class with their teacher Sally Ceesay and clearly enjoying it!

 We encourage teachers to reward good performance in various ways. This pictures shows the pencil cases ready to go on Thursdays each week to the boy and girl in nursery 2 and 3 who are trying the hardest. The pencil cases are filled with colouring pencils, paper, sweets and a balloon. They have been made, put together and given  by Chris Humphries, who helps in our school as a volunteer on her regular visits to Sunrise.

Week ending 19th January 2018

 We continue to have visitors come to see us in Sunrise which is great. On Monday it was Dave & Mary Robinson, who have been supporters of GETS for a number of years. They were making their annual visit to see us and catch up on the children that they support, Cecelia Mendy & Isa Bah. These children are at other schools in the local area. Alieu, the children's father visited with Dave and Mary.

 It's nice to see the older Lower Basic children using the garden again, after the Sunrise family of termites eat everything in sight last year. We hope that spraying will have reduced the population of these pest and the garden will thrive once again.


 We had some tiles lifting Mrs Cham's Lower Basic 4 class over the Christmas holidays. This is a little mysterious and we hope that is just due to expansion of different materials within the school, rather than a sign of something more drastic. New tiles have been applied and we will watch what happens next with some trepidation.


We congratulate Mrs Cham on successfully completing her Primary Teachers Certificate at Gambia Teacher Training College. Although her course completed last year, the formally recognition of her qualification has just reached the Sunrise Office. Well done!

 On Thursday, Jim and Liz Coyle (pictured with Helen) visited Sunrise on Thursday 18th January. They sponsor a student at  a Lower Basic school on the way to Brikama (in Busambala), called Joanna Sowe. They brought with them a large cash gift donation, for which we are really grateful. We have spent a lot of cash maintaining the school in the last few weeks and this money will help with some of those expenses.



We currently have 11  youngsters who all need a helping hand in our school at the Sunrise Centre. We have checked on their backgrounds and find they will have to leave school without your help. Here are photos of just a few of them. GETS tries to support education because it is the best way to help individuals and their families find their way out of poverty. 
The cost of helping an individual is just 10 a month. You will get regular updates on progress and can always see them if you visit Sunrise.. 
More about sponsoring -

Week ending 12th January 2018

Back to school this week after the Christmas break. During that time the school has been free for our painters to come in and refresh the paint on many of the walls.

The outside walls, Skills Training and Lower Basic classrooms were painted on this occasion.

They also painted our sports floor, between the Bantaba and  and Skills Training classrooms.




We also entertained a big group of regular visitors.  Pictured here (from left to right) are Joyce Derry, Jane Derry, Christopher Hill and Tracy Hill with our Education Director, Mr Cham.

Christopher Hill and his mum Tracy,  sponsor Sohna Jallow in LB1 and Jane Derry sponsors Baboucarr Ceesay in Nursery 2 at Sunrise. We are also delighted that Christopher is going to help us by feeding information about GETS and all that we do, onto Facebook. We hope this will get us more friends and supporters.

Some things tend to be supersized in The Gambia, due to a super climate. The papaya that Helen bought locally is no exception. This beast of a fruit must represent several of her 5 a day and should last many days too!