Week ending 12th July 2019
This week we had trouble with our solar
power system. This was due to a number of factors but the last
straw was the dust and grime that had accumulated on the panels
since the last rains, nearly 9 months ago! The simple answer was
to clean the panels, with help from our plumber and electrician,
One of our biggest
events each year is Graduation Day for our year 3 Skills
Training Students, this year was no exception. The graduation
was very colourful (as the picture shows) and was conducted to a
tight agenda to pack in all the important elements of the day.
Our top table included
key members of the community and staff, who support us every
year plus our guest speaker, Baubucarr Kebeh from Gambia Youth
and Chambers of Commerce. Mr Kebeh spoke on skills for self
We had a cake, of
course, in Gambian flag colours and prizes were awarded to
deserving students, with Jainaba Camara, who specialised in
Tailoring, receiving an award for Outstanding Student of the
The local new TV
station; QTV, was invited to attend and their report has been
added to Youtube. This was taken from their news day - see
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYj9lM8NCQQ (Coverage starts
20 mins into the broadcast). It includes interviews with our
Education Director, Alkali Cham and students, focusing on the
positive benefits of youngsters learning skills as a way of
reducing poverty within their country.
This is the final
blog for this academic year and we will resume again when
Sunrise opens in late September for the 2019/20 year.
Week ending 5th July 2019
Guests, parents and other school friends
came together in school hall area on Saturday to celebrate the
end of the LB 6 classes (top primary aged class) time at The
Sunrise Centre and their Graduation onto the next level of
schooling available locally, either from the state or from
We captured pictures of the top
table, from left to right, you have -
Abdul Aziz Mboge (Head of SMC)
Sulayman Saidy (Head of Dumbarton London Corner Nursery School)
Saffie Bobb (Veteran Educationist)
Ousman Sowe (current Cluster Monitor)
Baboucarr Jarjue (Guest Speaker
- ex Cluster monitor)
Alkali Cham (Director Sunrise Centre)
Malick Joof (Master of ceremonies)
The Hall was beautifully decorated by
our team at Sunrise, including; Fatou Cham, Bakary Saidy, Ousman
Jaiteh, Alimatou Jammeh and one of our caretakers (Foday Jarju).
All children and visitors enjoyed
music and dancing plus food, of course, prepared by Sunrise
female staff. Everyone enjoyed
a little piece of the Graduation cake, emblazoned with a Union
Jack, as a thank you for the help that the charity gives the
school and the magnificent support given by Helen, every day at
the Sunrise Centre.
Our class of LB6
(around 13 years old) posed for the group picture too and
although some will be unsure of their next steps in life, they
all seemed happy on this day, celebrating their learning.
Of course many others
continue to learn new things every day in the school, as Mr
Williams LB1 class (aged around 7 years) class showed a few days
earlier. Mr Williams had them all working on Months of the Year,
including spelling and ordering using several learning methods.
Week ending 28th June 2019
Skills Traing Year 3 have been working with
First Aid for Gambia Instructor Momodou Laineh (pictured) to
polish up their bandaging skills as they near the end of their
First Aid Certificate this week.
students really got into the whole accident and treatment
processes. They immobilised injuries and did a great job of
dressing the wounds. The classroom really resembled a "Disaster
Area" at one time.
Skills 3 are looking forward to their
Graduation next week.
Elsewhere in the school Nursery children
were caught on camera trying hard to see just how many Nursery
children you can get on a see-saw.
Hope they won't need help from the First
Week ending 21st June 2019
This week we've seen the Skills Training
Students in Year 3 working on their final practicals making
various fried foods including the "Good old Chip". Seems to be a
favourite in many cafe and restaurant dishes now all over the
world, especially The Gambia.
The final year
students then posed with some more of their dishes in the
Cookery area of the Bantaba. Looks like a lovely prawn cocktail
from one student.
Elsewhere in Sunrise,
Mr Saidy - our Lower Basic G5 teacher, was doing science;
explaining the states of water (solid, liquid, gas) to the
children of his class.
We've seen him do this
successfully a few times now using quite crude but effective
apparatus. This always enthrals the children who are really
interested in the apparent magic that they'll have seen many
times but perhaps not thought much about.
Here he is heating
water to steam, using a local charcoal stove, before condensing
the steam back into liquid water. He often uses the school
kitchen freezer, when electricity is in good supply, to freeze
liquid water to solid ice before showing the melting it back to
Week ending 14th June 2019
This year the Skills Training students from
Year 1 and 2 chose to go on an excursion to the villages of
Albreda and Juffureh and of course the famous James Island (aka
Kunta Kinteh Island). This trip was led by teachers Mr Ali Bah
and Mr Saihou Darboe.
This is quite an
adventure for students, in many ways, since the journey is quite
long and exciting, plus students effectively camp within a local
school on these trips before making visits to see important
cultural history exhibitions.
The students began by
travelling to Banjul and crossing the wide mouth of the River
Gambia (more than 6 miles) before travelling up the North Bank
road to Albreda and arriving at the Museum that explains all
about the slave trade in this part of West Africa. For some who
haven't travelled far, this is quite an adventure in itself.
The students and
teachers always enjoy the excursion together with plenty of time
to cook, eat and discuss many topics.
In the Albreda museum grounds there are
many exhibitions to show the harsh treatment of slaves from the
tribes of The Gambia. The students joined in a photo opportunity
along with one of these statue groups.
Next came the trip by
pirogue to James Island. This is quite a short trip but everyone
took care on this journey too. Very important since many will
not be able to swim at all, in the unlikely event of a problem.
On James Island (a
UNESCO World Heritage Site), one of the local guides explained
all about the history of slavery here and told students how
groups were held on the Island in poor conditions before making
the long trip across the Atlantic on small ships, cramped below
It is great to see the
Students and Teachers enjoying their time on the excursion and
the final picture under one of Albreda's baobab trees shows the
whole group together.
Week ending 31st May
Visiting the classroom in Sunrise is always
an interesting experience. Sometime very noisy and other times
very quiet. This time the LB 1 class (aged 6/7), taught by Mr
Williams, were working on their days of the month topic, in
their English Lesson. Mr Williams, guided by the text book,
showed them spelling, pronunciation, and month order using
different methods to make sure it sank into the children's
Whilst in Nursery 3
(aged 5/6) they were equally studious. Working hard on phonics,
guided by teacher, Mrs Sanneh. We have taught a phonics approach
to reading and writing since the start of Sunrise and it has
been very effective for most children.
Ebrima has been clearing out one area
where we have wood that has attracted termites. This has all
been removed now to the local rubbish dump by donkey cart to
avoid spreading these “beasts” elsewhere in the compound. The
remainder will be killed we hope, quite soon. We also took the
opportunity to throw away some of our school chairs that were
well beyond repair!
This week in Sunrise,
as in every week, the children in Lower Basic split up for
Religious Education. The children from Christian families are
taught by Paul Badjan (pictured using our old office area as a
classroom) whilst the majority of children in the class, who are
from Muslim families, are taught by Mustapha SaidyKhan.
There is no blog next
week as the school is closed for the whole week for the festival
that marks the end of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr (called Koriteh in
Families often travel
from the coastal area of the country to their “home” villages
inland so they can celebrate with their families.
Week ending 24th May
This week at Sunrise was another big step
forward for us because we have finally got 20 working sewing
machines in our Skills Training classroom. This is all thanks to
monies raised by our long term supporters Rudy and Yolanda
Nachtegaal and topped up by David and Valerie Allen.
The picture shows our
sewing machine supplier Musa Camara assembling one of 5 new
“Singer” machines. More information in our forthcoming
Newsletter, due out very soon.
In our kitchen we
prepare food everyday for the children and youngsters to eat at
break-time. Our cook, Susan Jarju often gets help from students
in Skills to make all this happen as the numbers taking food
each day has made the task quite a challenge. The kitchen is a
bit quieter during month of Ramadan when the older students fast
during daylight hours. This is due to finish early in June.
Once children are
“fuelled up” they want to release all their energy and playing
energetic games is very normal. Tony caught the Lower Basic
girls playing a game called Akara. A local game that has been
around for many years and is a bit like the UK game called
Tie and Dye lessons
continue, this time for Skills 1 who are shown, proudly standing
in front of their work as it dries on the washing line.
Week ending 17th May
The Skills Training 3 Students have all
returned from work experience and many have done well with their
temporary employers. Musa Badjie had a job with the hotel group,
Hypolink Village, based in Kololi and was proud to show us the
Certificate of Appreciation that she was awarded at the end of
We are delighted that
the total number of students being offered the chance of going
back to a job after school finishes, is more than 75% this year.
A tremendous result for the staff and students. Well done to
Another thing that the
students in Skills 3 are given in their final term is a fully
accredited First Aid Training Course from First Aid 4 Gambia,
with trainer, Momodou Laineh, visiting every Thursday to teach a
very practical course.
Helen has been meeting
sponsored children and parents this week to hand out school fees
to externally sponsored children. The picture shows her visitor
today was Mariamama Bah’s son, Modou-Lamin. He is in Apple Tree
International School where he has been struggling to get good
results until his mother, a nurse, read him the “riot act” and
things started to pick up. He had a better second term, despite
being sick for a time.
Our Skills Training
Year 3 have been completing some of their practical work this
week and posed for the camera in front of the finished Tie and
Dye cloth. Very colourful!
Finally this week,
the National Assessment Test exam practice sessions were run for
LB3 children, taught this year by Mrs Fatou Cham. They sat a
“Mock” exam in the Hall. This was the very first time these 9
year olds had to suffer the tricky process of measured
assessment. The final exam taking place in a month’s time across
all of The Gambia is marked externally .
Week ending 10th May
This week we kicked off the Registration
process for the new school year, beginning in September 2019.
Parents are quite eager to get onto our lists so that they get
any places available.
The Caretakers (Foday
Jarju pictured) put up our poster everyday so that word can
spread that we are open for new children.
We will have places in
a completely new Nursery 1 class and Skills Training Year 1
class but very few places further up the school, so demand is
quite high, particularly in LB1 where we always have a waiting
Kaddy Darboe (sister
of one of our LB teachers, Fatoumatta Darboe) came to register
her 2 girls for places in the school with our office
We were pleased to be
given tooth brushes and tooth paste by Carole Marshal, who lives
near Tony when she comes to The Gambia. The Nursery 1
children were all given either brushes or paste by teacher Kaddy
Kora Ceesay is
pictured proudly showing off her gift. I hope that all get used
in the correct way. Thanks Carole!
Week ending 3rd May
This is the first week of Term 3, returning
after the Easter Holidays. The weather is still relatively cool
for the time of year and dry of course, with any rain not
expected until late June or even into July.
Our newest employee,
Hassanatou Bah, has now been with us for 4 months working as a
classroom assistant in LB. Tony snapped a picture of her in the
hall at break time, now in her staff uniform.
The Nursery children
have been doing their usual assemblies again, singing and
dancing, guided by teaching staff; Kaddy Jawara and Sally Ceesay.
They always seem to enjoy this time, but keeping 90 children in
order in an open space like the hall takes great skill and some
At break time we still
have the ladies from the village coming into sell snacks and
drinks to complement the sandwiches made in the Sunrise kitchen
by Susan, our cook. One of the ladies, Christianna Ogunjirin, a
Nigerian, is being hugged by one of the children (Majula Jammeh)
who obviously holds her in great affection.
We have been trying to
start a tree off to give shade in the playground area for some
time now and it is good to see that we’ve finally been
successful with a particular variety of tree. We think this is
known as an umbrella tree, for obvious reasons.