November 2012 Newsletter - Number 2

Progress continues to be made in our efforts to help with the education of the pupils at the schools in Sohm.  Read on, for an update on our activities.

Derwentwater Primary School Twinning

This West London primary school has twinned with the Sohm Lower Basic School.  There has been quite a bit of contact, profile raising and friendship building over the last four months.

Sandra and John, from the charity, visited the school during Black History month and took year assemblies covering the whole school and talked about African masks.  This provoked quite a bit of interest, and launched a whole school 'mask making' competition.  There were some fantastic entries (a few, we suspect, with a bit of enthusiastic parental involvement!).  So, we'll be back soon, to do a bit of judging and prize awarding (they are all winners!).

The good, the bad and the ugly,
Derwentwater pupils enthusiastically
demonstrate masks in action!

We'll be back at the school in December running a stall at the Winter Fair, with some table top items, a raffle, and some Gambian food.  This will, hopefully, maintain the interest in Sohm, and hopefully raise a little money for the schools there, from the good folk of Derwentwater.

Fund Raising

Funds continue to trickle in to the charity (and many thanks to those supporters with standing orders).  All money raised will be spent, by us, on items directly benefiting the education of the Gambian youngsters (books, visual aids, a bit of teacher training, equipment etc).

Particular thanks go to Elin and Paul, who arranged for a collection for the charity at their recent wedding reception.  The happy couple are at the left of the photo, below, on their special day, with School Sohm Support trustee, Rose Phillips, far right in the photo - resplendent in maid of honour dress.

Paul and Elin (left); and  SSS trustee, Rose ( far right)

Hopefully, we'll add to the charity's funds with our appearance at the Derwentwater Winter Fair, in a couple of weeks

Train the Teachers

Two Derwentwater teachers, Natalie (Sandra's daughter) and her work colleague Nicola (pictured below) will be giving up their February half term break to visit the schools in Sohm and provide a bit of teacher training for the staff.  They are working hard on a pack, that they will deliver to all teachers, at both Sohm schools, with the enthusiastic support and encouragement of the two head teachers.

The pack will be offered to the Regional Director of Education, for use in other Gambian schools.

Africa bound: two Derwentwater teachers:
Nicola (left and Natalie (Right),
thoughtfully wearing a pair of bunny ears!

It won't be long

Another couple of months and Sandra and John will be off to the Gambia, for a few weeks, working with the schools in Sohm village and ensuring that every penny raised in the UK is spent to benefit the education of local children.

One of the highlights of our trip will be the project our very good friends at Football Gambia (web:; Twitter (@GambiaSchools).  Bringing 40 volunteers to the Gambia, Ian and his team will deliver a day of football training to the schools' pupils, and teacher training to the schools staff.

Other great friends @KitAid will be supplying kits to all the schools' hundreds of children.  This is international aid at its very best: help, training, international goodwill, capacity building, friendship and co-operation.  Don't know who is more excited; the kids of Sohm, the good folk of Football Gambia, or us!

Some of the great volunteers from Football Gambia,'on tour' during their last visit to The Gambia.

Legal stuff

We obtained formal recognition from HMRC for the charity last November (reg number: XT31271)- which means we can get Gift Ad (an additional 25%, from the exchequer) for every £1 that people give the charity.

Keep in touch

We have a presence on:
Facebook (UkSohmSchoolsSupportTeamTheGambia),
Twitter (@GambiaSchools)
Website (

and can be contacted via e.mail at  Keep in touch and find out how we are getting on, and spending our income!

That's enough from us, for now.  Until the next time,

John and Sandra Walker
(Trustees, Sohm Schools Support)

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