May 2013 Newsletter - Number 5



This is the third, and last, of our newsletter updates, letting you know of the progress we made on your behalf, and with your money (!), when we were in The Gambia, earlier in the year. We hope you are as encouraged as we are with progress and the value for money we have achieved for your hard earned donations.

You can get details of our earlier newsletters on our website - for details, see end of this letter.


School trip for the Lower Basic school

Sohm is quite a remote community, with only bicycles and a once a day bush taxi as a means of exploration beyond its boundaries. Many of the village's children haven't even managed this, by the time they leave the Lower Basic school.

We have worked on a scheme with the school to provide a day school trip for all of the year 5 and year 6 pupils (about 180 in all). The day out will provide a packed lunch and visit to three of the following: Banjul, the country's capital city, the beach and Atlantic Ocean, the country's only commercial airport, its zoo and the Wassu Stones - Gambia's mysterious Stonehenge-like monument on the north bank of the country.

The Wassu Stones - a key historic site in the Gambia - its very own mini-Stonehenge

We are delighted to say that Owen Walker has agreed to sponsor this trip this year. Owen has recently moved to New York and has said how important travel was in expanding his horizons and perspectives, as he was growing up. His wish is that some of these benefits may rub off on the Sohm youngsters. Thanks, Owen!!


Distribution of donated laptops



There is no mains electricity in Sohm's two schools, no internet access, almost no computers and little ICT competence; but the schools struggle valiantly to not get left further behind in a rapidly developing wired world.

Laptops, with good batteries for power storage, provide a much appreciated boost to those efforts. Dennis Roberts was kind enough to donate 3 laptops to us last autumn and Rose Phillips, another. As a result of free transport, donated by our friends at Football Gambia, we were able to get these out to Sohm in February this year. And what a difference they have made!

ICT lessons can now be conducted, whether the generator is on, or not, via the storage capacity of the batteries - which can be charged elsewhere in the village. Additionally, each of the two school heads now has a PC for school record keeping and keeping in touch with us, and others!

We were able to supplement these very generous donations with some ICT teaching books and some memory sticks, to the benefit of staff and students at the schools, alike.

We have been promised more free transport capacity to The Gambia, this autumn. So, if you or colleagues are disposing of laptops (with good batteries), as you upgrade or migrate to tablets - get in touch! We'll be delighted to pick them up from you and can guarantee they will make a difference to young African lives!


Communications updates

We were delighted to get six very positive pieces of news coverage for the charity in the Gambian press, while in the country, earlier this year...check out our In The News page. In addition, we have had coverage for our efforts in the Ealing Gazette and Ealing Council magazine. While in The Gambia we caught up with Ian Wiggins, a freelance video/film maker who agreed to make a short video about Sohm Schools Support, free of charge for us. We have posted this on our website, along with the press coverage, to update supporters and casual visitors on the charity's progress. So a big thanks to Wiggy! You can contact him via earwiggy@sky.com


Coverage from Gambian newspaper, The Point, 7 March 2013

You can find about all of this press coverage, and more, on our In the News page


Keep in touch

We have a presence on Facebook (SohmSchoolsSupport), Twitter (@GambiaSchools) and a website (www.sohmschoolssupport.org.uk), and can be contacted via e.mail at info@sohmschoolssupport.org.uk.

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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