In April, we are excited to be continuing our work with School in a Bag in The Gambia, where we will be joining forces with Skoolz 4 Kids to give the gift of education to children who are being denied this chance in life.
Every child deserves the best, and during this project we hope to bring joy and relief to the lives of poor and needy children in what is one of the most deprived countries in the world.
Faraba Banta, The Gambia
The Gambia is a small country in West Africa with a population of approximately 2.101 million, almost half of which live in hardship and deprivation. Poverty is particularly widespread in rural areas, with almost 70% living below the U.N. poverty line of $1.25 per day.
Classed as an area of 'Low Human Development', the 2010 UNDP's Human Development Report ranks The Gambia 151st out of 169 countries on its Human Development Index. Its economy is dominated largely by farming, fishing and tourism. With 60% of the country are reliant on agriculture to make a living, terrible crop failures caused by the severe droughts between 2011 and 2013 have left many struggling and suffering severe food shortages and malnutrition.
The overall literacy rate is only 55%, and thousands of children aren’t attending school because their families simply can’t afford to pay school fees. Despite the fact that, in 1998, President Jammeh ordered the termination of fees for the first six years of schooling in 1998, this has sadly been almost impossible to implement due to a dire lack of resources and educational infrastructure. Schools are in desperate need of the essential learning equipment, and many children are still starved of an education.
And this is why Blake, along with our partners at School in a Bag, are stepping in to extend support through the Gambian charity Skoolz 4 Kids.
Skoolz 4 Kids
S4K is an incredible charity which has made an enormous impact on the lives of many Gambian children. Their small team do everything they can to assist students, families, communities and schools, sourcing sponsors worldwide as well as providing educational materials, furniture, books and other resources to schools across the country.
The support they provide is phenomenal and, in the 2016-2017 academic year alone, they enabled 238 students to attend school by providing sponsors for them.
View their website here to learn more.
During this project, we will be working alongside Ginger and Sol, founders of the charity, who will be overseeing the distribution of resources to children in need.
Every Little Counts
Blake have sponsored 600 SchoolBags, which contain everything from exercise books and stationery, to eating equipment and a reusable water bottle. We also held a shoe collection for all old or unwanted shoes and managed to collect a fantastic total of 622 pairs of shoes!
With the guidance of Ginger and Sol at Skoolz 4 Kids, these will be distributed to children from a large primary school in Faraba Banta, located in the Kombo East District in the Western Division of The Gambia, where we are assured they are very much needed.
The Blake team have been busy packing all the donations into a container along with our friends at School in a Bag, and they are now safely on their long journey to their new owners!
It has been great to hear back from Luke Simon, Founder and CEO of the charity, about the difference we will be making:
“On behalf of the team here, we wanted to say a huge thank you to the Blake contingent who helped us pack on Wednesday. It made such a difference having the additional hands (and muscle) and enabled us to do it all in one day…
“Once again, thank you for playing your part in this fulfilling project which will make such a difference to the schooling of the children and the lives of the communities in The Gambia.”
Keep on the lookout for more updates soon!