PAGEANT - "Education is the future"
Banyaka Lower Basic School
Banyaka (also called Baniakang) is a village in the Kombo South District of the Western Division of The Gambia, about 35km from Banjul. It is in a rural location, roughly half way between the densely populated Busumbala/Yundum area and the Atlantic coast. Banyaka Lower Basic School was established in 1996 and serves a wide area around it. It has close links with Chestnut Grove School in South London, and also with Bishop's Waltham Junior School in Hampshire.
is a high-performing, 11-19 mixed comprehensive school in Balham, South London. Since 2008 it has been an academy status, specialising in the visual arts and media, but also covering a wide curriculum. The association with Banyaka Lower Basic School started in 2003, when some Chestnut Grove teachers were on holiday in The Gambia. Links were set up between the schools so that students would learn from each other. Since then Chestnut Grove has provided computers and teaching equipment, paid for the installation of solar panels and helped with the construction of new classrooms and toilets.
In 2009, they established links with Pageant as a channel for their fundraising, and now have an annual fundraising event in aid of Banyaka LBS. These have taken various forms, but latterly the events have been Comedy Evenings, with many well known comedians contributing their talents for the benefit of Banyaka LBS. Throughout this time, Chestnut Grove pupils have sponsored children at Banyaka, with the sponsorship continuing as these students moved on upper basic and senior secondary schools..
Bishop's Waltham Junior School
is located in the small historic Hampshire country town of , in the beautiful Meon Valley, about 20km from Southampton. The school operates a number of Extra Clubs, and one of these is called . The children of Worldclass have been in contact with children in in The Gambia since 2005, exchanging letters, and fundraising with Worldclass Fayres and Gambian Mini-markets. In 2013, Worldclass formed a new link with Banyaka Lower Basic School, and began exchanging letters with the Banyaka children.
Oct 2010 - April 2011 The Library
In 2010, Chestnut Grove Year 10 students decided to support Banyaka through Pageant. As well as sponsoring two students, they decided to pay for the fitting of windows and floor tiles in a new building, which was being then used as an overflow classroom, but would eventually become the school library. The first two photos below show the building as it was in October 2010. When a Pageant team returned in April 2011, the windows and tiling had been done and the building looked considerably better, as seen in the second of the two photos below.
May 2012 - Flourishing gardens
In April 2012, A Pageant team visited Banyaka LBS to see what progress was being made. They were very impressed by the excellent crops in the school vegetable garden.
May 2012 - Work starts on new toilets
During the school year 2010-2011, Chestnut Grove raised £865. Some of this paid for the sponsorship of their two students, now in Senior Secondary School. £465 of the money raised was used to start work on a new toilet block. In April 2012, the below ground works (settlement tanks) had been completed. Above ground works (the actual building) will be started when funds allow. The photos below show the high quality of the workmanship on the settlement tanks.
February 2013 - Library in Use and Toilets Completed
By the time of Pageant's February 2013 visit, the library was in use as a library, rather than just an overflow classroom, and the toilets had been competed.
Oct 2014 - Food Vending Area
During 2013, funding was provided to build a food vending stall. The photos below were taken during Pageant's visit in October 2014. The vending stall is used by the ladies who make and sell the breakfast and lunches for both children and teachers.