Season's Greetings - December 2015

Season's Greetings 


Sandra and John

Students at Sohm Senior school displaying some of the donations we were able to take over earlier this year

We are sending the above as an e.card, instead of sending Christmas cards this year, and are sending the money saved to SSS, for use in Sohm.

We send the accompanying letter with our

Season's Greetings from Sohm

Sandra and John are sending this to you instead of posting a Christmas card.  We will be donating the £100+ we spend on cards to the educational charity we run in The Gambia: Sohm Schools Support (, @GambiaSchools, FB:SohmSchoolsSupport). So, thank you, for your indirect support!

We have run the charity for five years, largely from donations from family and friends, together with a small number of fund-raising events. We have probably collected about £20,000 for the schools and given a similar amount in kind, with goods, generously donated by our supporters.

During our years of running the charity we have supported this Gambian village's two schools (primary and secondary) and their 800+ students.

Specifically we have:

Provided each student in both schools with a full stationery supply for every school year.

Completed equipped an ICT classroom in the Upper School, with 30 working PCs, together with printers and memory sticks for each of the school's students.

Ensured that for the first time, every pupil in the secondary school has access to a key textbook in every national curriculum subject.

Re-equipped the domestic science classroom in the Upper Basic school, thus supporting pupils who will gain work in the country's major non-agriculture industry: tourism.

Provided over 100 football kits, and sports equipment to the two schools, most supplied by our friends at KitAid.

Provided electricity to the primary school for the first time: with lighting and power points in each classroom and every room in the teachers' accommodation block.

Donated over 1,000 text and library books to the two schools.

Refurbished the teachers' accommodation block for the Lower Basic (primary) school.

Refurbished, and brought back into use two classrooms in the primary school.

Paid for day school trips to major landmarks in the country for all final year Lower Basic pupils - their only visit outside the village for many.

Supplied a dozen bicycles and paid for the repair of 40 others in schools many of whose pupils would otherwise have to walk upto an hour to and from them each day.

Supported in the region of 20 specific pupils via sponsorship and hardship-type payments.

Our efforts have been recognised by the country's Education ministry, and the senior school has seen its place in regional league tables from in the bottom half dozen (out of 85) to third place.

 There has been a significant improvement in examination results and a greatly increased flow of pupils to the country's catering college.

We are back to The Gambia in January, equipped with funds, generously donated by our supporters (including the money in lieu of your Christmas card!) and we have plans. 

We will:

Continue our annual donation of school stationery to all pupils at each school.

Pay for the refurbishment of the (currently out-of-commission) sick room in the primary school - many of whose pupils are often struck by bouts of malaria.

Completely cleanse, insect-proof and refurb. the library in the primary school, which is currently out of use due to significant termite infection.

Provide solar panel power to drive the well pump (and only source of water) at the Lower Basic school.

After discussions with the senior school head teacher, make a significant contribution towards improving one specific curriculum area (this may be agricultural tools, or equipment and materials for the craft workshops).

Continue to pay all costs associated with the pupils our supporters sponsor and provide hardship (often medical) support to pupils with particular or special needs.

Continue to support a small income-generation mothers' project which we seed funded last year. This gives greater independence to women in the village and further assists  self-help and support mechanisms there. The kind of sustainability it offers is the only real long-term future for the alleviation of third world poverty.

Thank you for reading this. If you'd like to support our charity further, you can do so via the channels listed above.

We, and we know, the pupils in Sohm, thank you for your support and forbearance and wish you and your family 'season's greetings' and all the best for 2016.

Sandra  and  John

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