Brilliant news!

The last 18-month COVID period has been difficult for us all, but SSS has been beavering away, quietly, trying to get resources to improve conditions in the Gambian schools we work with.

Funding for two of the largest projects we have ever worked on has finally been agreed over the last two weeks, and we are absolutely delighted.

It is a fitting way to celebrate the tenth anniversary of our existence, coming up in January 2022.

Two huge projects

As we have reported on this blog before, we have spent the last two years putting together the finances for completely renovating one of The Gambia's largest Lower Basic (primary) schools - with over 2,000 pupils, in Sukuta.

Piecing together the funding for this has been tricky, but we now have in place the last part of the jigsaw that will allow us to proceed. The project will cost in excess of £30k, and is largely being funded by the Rotary Foundation.


We have also been working with our Jersey colleagues in the Jersey Gambia Schools Trust (JGST), and the Jersey Overseas Aid department to put together a £12k project that will completely renovate the only building in Sohm Lower Basic school that we have not already improved over the last decade.

Funding for this has finally been agreed by all parties and construction contracts were signed in early October, with the target of begining work by the end of December.

Sukuta funding

SSS's loyal band of regular supporters will be contributing over £12,000 to this (from money accumulated over the last 2/3 years) and Rotary the rest.

Rotary funding is coming from Redbridge Rotary club (John's own club), which is contributing £5k, with contributions from neighbouring clubs in London (Barkingside and Gants Hill), as well as from international sister clubs in Holland and Slovenia. In addition, the London District of Rotary is contributing $10k and the Rotary Foundation (based in Chicago) a further $8k.

It has been time-consuming and tricky putting the project together, but just yesterday we got the final grant go-ahead and funding agreed.

The project will mean that from early in the new year, our sister Rotary club, Brusubi, in The Gambia, will be able to oversee the construction of:

Double the water tank capacity in the school

Increase the number of water standpipes from one to 11, for the 2,000+ children


Completely renovate the unsafe and unhealthy toilets

 Build the school's first sick room

 Bring back into operation the termite-ridden library

From the above to the below

Increase the size of the school's only computer room, so that all pupils will be able to receive weekly computer lessons. 

Reduce overcrowding here, by extending, below

Provide a safe, clean and hygenic food serving area for school meals.

Replace this with a hygenic preparation and serving area

The lives of 2,000 Gambian primary school children will be transformed by these changes.

Last piece in Sohm restoration

Over the years, we have: brought electricty to the Sohm Lower Basic school, improved the teachers' accommodation, brought back to operation an infested library, renovated the school's sick room, improved the toilets, refurbished one of only two teaching blocks and built a new multi-purpose hall.

There is only one building within the school complex that we have not yet upgraded. Eighteen months ago, storm damage ripped off the roof of part of that teaching block. 

Last year's storm damage
Next year's refurbished block!

Together with our Jersey friends, we put together a plan to completely renovate the block, and have been able to identify funding from JGST, Jersey Overseas Aid and ourselves to pay for it. 

Our contribution has been effectively funded by donations and fund-raising events organised by Sohm's twin school Beech Hill Community Primary school, in Luton. We are hugely appreciative of their efforts, without which this six-classroom block renovation could not take place.

We hope construction can begin before the end of the calendar year.

All in all - these have been two great weeks for SSS and for Gambian school children. 

We are delighted, but now, absolutely skint! 

If you would like to help us fund further projects to advance the education of Gambian youngsters, please consider supporting us.