On Thursday evening 15th June the members were invited to hear Mrs Janet Clarke give a presentation with slides on the work of the organisation known as Gambia Aid Through Education.
The charity started in 2005 and does not have any paid members. All volunteers pay their own expenses for travel etc.
This organisation does what it says. It has volunteers visiting various villages supporting the community in various aspects trying to improve their life style. These visits have so far proved very successful in many ways. One such improvement was to supply mosquito nets to too each house which has resulted in a very significant fall in the deaths of the more vulnerable. It was a fact that one in five children would die from malaria. Some villages had reported no deaths since the nets were provided.
Most of the people are illiterate with 25% below the poverty line. The main language is in fact English although they do have their own native tongue and that changes from area to area. English is taught in schools which again have been improved through these visits.
They do grow their own vegetables and olives. Seeds provided by the organisation are highly appreciated by villagers. The farmers mostly grow peanuts. The soil is poor and rainfall at a minimum. Clean water has been provided in some areas doing away with watering holes. The organisation has been supported by donations from individuals and companies. One school now has a computer and they were able to send a teacher on a computer course to enable him to teach others. Janet hoped that one day a local school will take up the challenge of corresponding with one of the schools and form a friendship.
Janet had with her several various items that had been made by the local population and in fact a busy sale took place after the main meeting.