The Jallow Foundation and adult literacy projects in The Gambia

Posted on Apr 26, 2013 by Katie Bushnell

Blog > The Jallow Foundation and adult literacy projects in The Gambia

The Jallow Foundation is one of the 25 projects that benefited from our 25 year anniversary initiative. Here, Naomi Jallow tells us about the foundation.

The Jallow Foundation, is one of the 25 projects that benefited from our 25 year anniversary initiative. Here, Naomi Jallow tells us about the foundation and how the donation from The Gambia Experience is being put to good use. 

The Jallow Foundation

"The Jallow Foundation, which although UK based, works solely in The Gambia, concentrating at present in the remote villages of the Jarra West District. The charity was set up in 2010, and, as such, we are still a young charity but with big ideas. Our aim is to relieve the poverty and suffering in The Gambia, and we try and do this in several ways but ALWAYS in consultation with local people and village heads - together with the Jarra West District Chief.

Mini-bus enabling people to visit health clinic

So far we have purchased and adapted a mini-bus which is now in use in Jarra West, providing free transport between the remote villages and the medical clinics, plus hospital and emergency transport when needed. The rest of the time it is used to provide cheap transport from the remote villages to Soma, the main town in the area; previously the only form of transport was walking or a donkey cart. On the very first trip to the natal clinic a massive 500 women and children took advantage of the service - so many, that in consultation with the local doctors at the medical centre, it has been necessary to revise the clinic dates and the mini-bus schedule.

Previously, women had no way of getting to the clinics for checks, especially if they had other children, and therefore many were not going, which in turn was impacting on their health and the health of their children. The doctors at the medical centre believe that the service being provided by the mini-bus will dramatically improve the health of all local people.

First aid training for villagers

In addition to the mini-bus, villages were asked for volunteers to become first aiders for their village - one male and one female from each. They were then provided with first aid training and each village now has not only fully trained first aiders, but also a full first aid kit, which we keep fully replenished. Living in remote villages people were not able to access medical facilities, and what may originally have been a minor problem such as a cut, often became serious, becoming infected. These types of problems are now being dealt with before they become serious situations, and the referrals to the medical centres and hospital have reduced as a result.

Village co-operatives

We have also been able to provide loans for women in the villages to set up co-operatives. One, a tie dye, and another a soap making co-operative, have done so well in such a short space of time that they intend to repay their loans early, since they are selling everything they can make. These co-operatives provide an income for local women and they can pass on the training that they have received to others.

Sponsor a child scheme

Regular shipments are sent out to The Gambia with items donated by people in the UK - items such as clothing, school supplies and much more. We also have a child sponsorship scheme. For the sum of just £12 per month a sponsored child can receive an education, their uniform, school supplies, a meal at school, an annual malaria injection and medication should they ever fall ill.

Adult literacy in The Gambia

The need for education is not just a problem for the young but for all ages. When there is no money for food, there is no chance of any money being available to educate a child. That child therefore grows up into an illiterate adult, whose chance to work in anything other than subsistence farming is practically nil. A survey undertaken by the Jallow Foundation recently found that in the Jarra West District alone, there were over 800 adults who were illiterate, but who were desperate to learn to read and write. As a result of this, we were able to find enough funding to set up a trial adult literacy course in Seno Bajonki for just 15 men and 15 women. Since we did not have enough funding to enable everyone in the village who was illiterate to attend the course, the villagers did a lottery to pick who should attend. Initially, the course was for 6 months but has been so successful that it has been extended now to a full year.

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Gambia Experience Donate to Adult Literacy Project

We applied for a grant to enable us to put on another adult literacy course and we were extremely pleased to find out that we had been successful. Thanks to the grant from The Gambia Experience, 14 men and 14 women are now taking part in a second adult literacy course, and although the course has only just started, the first monthly assessment of their progress shows that they are doing very well.

The lack of the ability to read and write impacts massively on a person’s life and basically means that without an education, obtaining a decent job is impossible and therefore being able to afford to educate children is out of the question. The circle of poverty then continues from one generation to another. As a result of the grant from The Gambia Experience, 28 people will now learn to read and write and learn the basics of arithmetic. This means that not only will their daily life become easier, but that they will have the chance to obtain employment other than subsistence farming. They may even be able to set up their own business. This in turn means that not just 28 people have their lives enhanced but so do their families: they can afford to send their children to school and so the circle of poverty is broken. Without the grant from The Gambia Experience, 28 people or more would not have had the opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of their families.

The Jallow Foundation are most grateful to The Gambia Experience for choosing us and this project to help. The people that are attending the course are very thankful, enthusiastic and happy to be given the opportunity of changing their lives.

Thank you, Gambia Experience for your support!"

- Naomi Jallow  

 

The Gambia Experience would like to congratulate everyone involved in The Jallow Foundation. You have achieved so much already and we are delighted to support your adult literacy project.

 

 

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