Signing off the Sukuta project (2)

This is the second of two articles signifying the successful conclusion of our Sukuta Project. The first immediately precedes it, on this blog

We have feautured the project frequently over the last three years in words and pictures. This episode is aimed at showing, mainly in picture form, the difference your - and Rotary's - money has made to the 2,000 children attending the school.

On International Women's Day 2022, the then head of Sukuta LBS (Mariam Mendy, dressed in white, second from left), the CEO of contractors Future In Our Hands (Jainaba Sarr, dressed in orange, second from right), together with then President of Brusubi Rotary club (Omar Jallow, far left) and John Walker, representing Sohm Schools Support and Redbridge Rotary (far right) sign contract for FIOH to deliver the Sukuta project. 


There were seven aspects to the project. Below, adopting a before and after approach, we present a photographic essay of the differene our Sukuta project has made to a large number of young African lives, now and for many years into the future.

Water Supply

Before: one water tank for 2,000 pupils


After (1): second water tank ready for installation


After (2): second water tank in place

Doubling the water capacity of the water supply enables much more hygenic practice and cleanliness around the school.


Before: There was only one water standpipe for 2,000 children to wash their hands (including after toilet and before food) in the entire school.

After (1): one of the ten new standpipes installed in the school

After (2): another of the ten new standpipes installed in the school

After (3): yet another of the ten new standpipes


Before (1 and 2): Old toilets, before the project

Under construction: The new toilets

After (1 and 2): running water in new hygenic toilets, for the first time


Before (above and below): Old library suffering from termite damage and unusable


After (above and below): newly reconstructed library, termite free and fit for use. The building is waiting for Brusubi Rotary Club to provide the promised furniture, and then it will be up and running and a fabulous facility for 2,000 pupils

Sick room

Before: No sick room in the school; a space identified to construct one

After: The sick room built.The building is waiting for Brusubi Rotary Club to provide the promised furniture, so that it can become a first aid and medical centre for the 2,000 pupils.

Computer room

Before: too small, unfit for purpose and unable to offer space for all the pupils

After (above and below): greatly expanded facility, with air-con, in which all pupils can receive ICT lessons

Vendors stalls
Before: The hot, unhygenic place where local women sold school lunches to the 2,000 pupils at the school

After (1 and2)- above and below: the new clean, hygenic building created for local traders to sell lunches to the school's children

After (3 and4)- above and below: traders setting up, and children using the new school meals facility

 Signed, sealed, but not fully delivered - yet
A year ago Redbridge Rotary (with significant SSS backing) and Rotary International provided the money for the completion of the Sukuta project. Under the terms of the agreement, Brusubi Rotary club were entrusted to supervise its delivery. Contractor, Future In Our Hands, went beyond expectations in executing the contract to price, despite building supply price inflation.
The completion of the project was hailed on Gambian TV and Brusubi Rotary club, via current president, Alpha Jallow, was happy to take credit for the delivery of this carefully constructed and delicately financed project.

It has been a great success, and SSS supporters and Rotarians, world-wide are to be thanked and praised for their generosity in ensuring that.

All that is needed now is for Brusubi Rotary club to put its money where its mouth is (to the tune of less than $1,000 US) and deliver on the promises it made to Gambian TV and furnish the library and sick room. That simple, low cost, pain-free gesture will ensure that 2,000 young Gambians will benefit from everyone else's efforts. 
It will also illustrate that Rotary values are extended to and be displayed by Gambian Rotarians too. Service before self-service. Charity before vanity.
The four photos, above and below, are of Brusubi Rotary President, Alpha Jallow taking credit for the delivery of the project. Now let the club deliver on its promises.


Signing off the Sukuta project (1)

This is the first of two articles celebrating the successful conclusion of our Sukuta Project.

Three years ago we started what proved to be a mamoth undertaking, to refurb the Gambia's largest primary (Lower Basic) school - the Sukuta LBS.

We raised a little over £40,000 for the project, a third from Sohm Schools Support's funds and two thirds from Rotary, via a combination of grants from local clubs in London (mainly Redbridge), a generous London-wide Distrct Grant and a top up payment from Rotary International in Chicago.

COVID proved to be a major distraction and obstacle, but in March this year we signed a contract with a Gambian Rotary club (Brusubi) and contractors Future in Our Hands (FIOH) to deliver the multi-faceted undertaking.  We have covered details of the proposals in a few previous posts.

FIOH delivered the project on time and to spec in October and they and the Brusubi club were the subject of a Gambian TV feature celebrating the handing over event. Below are stills from that TV report, which focused heavily on Rotary and the good and the great, who were at the sign off of the project.

Ribbon cutting at the ceremony - left to right: Alpha Jallow (Brusubi Rotary club), the head and chair of governors of the school and right, Jainaba Sarr - Director of Future In Our Hands (the contractor).

View of the event, from the top table

Children welcoming the new facilities

Alpha Jallow of Brusubi Roatry club, addressing the meeting, calling on the school to make maximum use of the facilities, and to look after them

                                           Attentive audience                                                                                              

Left, Haruna Bah, head Sukuta LBS, right Jainaba Sarr, CEO of contractor Future In Our Hands

Exterior of renovated library

Two water tanks - doubling the capacity available to the school

"Modest" shot of interior of new toilets at school - hugely more hygenic than those they replaced

Alpha Jallow walking the party through the new "vendors' stalls", for the hygenic distribution of school meals.

The Sukuta project was signed off, on time, to budget and spec at the end of September. In addition to the facilities outlined in the TV report, the project established a new sick room for the school, greatly extended the size of the school's only computer room and increased the number of standpipes from which pupils can access water, from one to ten.

All in all, a very considerable success that will benefit the 2,000 children attending the school, now and well into the future.

The second post, detailing the signing of of the Sukuta project is to follow, and will feature "before" and "after" photos of the various strands of the undertaking.

School's out for summer

Sohm Lower Basic school has had a good year, having bounced back from COVID, without too many casualties. And we are delighted to say, that although Sohm Schools Support did not deliver any major projects  during the year, all of our on-going support elements came in to play, to the great benefit of the children and wider community of the village, as this post, summing up the year, demonstrates.

With our friends from the Jersey Gambia Schools Trust (JGST), we were able to continue to updgrade and refurb one of the teaching blocks, as the photo of the restored classroom, below, indicates. And, along with that, we have paid for the restoration of large quantities of broken and damaged school furniture - all of which is now in full commission.

A refurbed and re-decorated classroom, in one of the two main teaching blocks, part funded by SSS 
Children sitting at some of the restored furniture in a refurbed classroom

For the first time in many years, the senior grade classes in the school were given a day trip around significant historic and economic points of interest in the country - important for many pupils who have rarely left their remote village before. We were indirectly able to support this trip because we supplied the school with all of its stationery needs during the year, thus freeing up school funds to pay for the trip for the students.

Above and below: staff and pupils visting Banjul airport, as part of the SSS-facilitated school visit

Over the years we have tried to upgrade technology in the school (connecting it to electricty and paying for its supply, provison of TV, internet connection and DVDs for teaching purposes, along with PCs to assist with the admin of the school). This year was no different. We helped provide a good quality laptop for admin putposes and a projector, to link with it, for teaching and other uses in the new school hall we built a couple of years ago.

A new laptop for the deputy head and a projector for use in the school hall

In this, the last week of term, our good friends, the Scottish-based charity, First Aid 4 Gambia, paid their annual visit to the school The magnificent Momodou from that charity provided a day's first aid training to 19 staff and parents and donated a range of first aid supplies to the school, to keep stocks refreshed in the first aid room we were instrumental in establishing and furnishing. So - safer lives for children and some real medical knowledge imparted into a village with no resident medical staff or facilities.

Attendance list at recent First Aid training course, provided by First Aid 4 Gambia

Some of the teaching aids used during the training


Momodou demonstrating some head bandaging

Some of the First Aid trainees, proudly demonstrating their course certificates

Some of the First Aid materials generously donated to the school by First Aid 4 Gambia

We are delighted to have been able to support the school by helping at the margins in thse various ways - each of which enriches the lives of the school's children and enhances the educational experience they benefit from.

Sohm pupils, February 2022, showing some of the staionery supplies donated to the school by SSS

None of this would be possible without the continued support we get from YOU, our supporters. Pride of place of which must go to the generous support we receive from the parents, pupils and staff at Beech Hill Community Prmary school in Luton.

We have mentioned before the large sums of money they have raised for Sohm LBS - with which they are twinned -over the years and are delighted to see the recognition they get locally for their efforts, via the local press. Below is a copy of the coverage they received from Luton News last month, for their latest Gambia Day.

 Luton News, 29 June 2022, reporting Beech Hill's recent Gambia day

So - as the pupils break up for their summer holidays, all connected with the school can look back on an enriched educational year, assisted by all of you, through your generous support.

A BIG thanks to all of our supporters for YOUR on-going support!  Keep the funds rolling in, so that we can continue to help enrich the lives of large numbers of African youngsters, at relatively low per capita costs.

Next post - the conclusion of our ambitious Sukuta Project - the substantial refurbishment and modernistaion of Sukuta LBS - the Gambia's largest (2,000 pupils) primary school.