PAGEANT - "Education is the future"

Banyaka Lower Basic School

Background

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.

On this page

Links for this page are on Menu 2

Chestnut Grove

Chestnut Grove 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. Read more about Chestnut Grove's support for Banyaka LBS.

Bishop's Waltham Junior School

Bishop's Waltham Junior School is located in the small historic Hampshire country town of Bishop's Waltham, in the beautiful Meon Valley, about 20km from Southampton. The school operates a number of Extra Clubs, and one of these is called Worldclass. The children of Worldclass have been in contact with children in Abuko Lower Basic School 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. Read more about Bishop's Waltham Junior School and their support for Gambian schools.

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.

Banyaka LBS library in October 2010
Banyaka LBS library in October 2010
Banyaka LBS library in October 2010
Banyaka LBS library in October 2010
Banyaka LBS library in October 2010
Banyaka LBS library in April 2011, showing new windows and floor tiles
Banyaka LBS library in April 2011
Banyaka LBS library in April 2011, showing new windows and floor tiles
Banyaka LBS library in April 2011
Banyaka LBS library in April 2011

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.

general view of Banyaka LBS vegetable garden
general view of Banyaka LBS vegetable garden
cucumbers or courgettes?
cucumbers or courgettes?
some excellent cabbages in Banyaka LBS vegetable garden
some excellent cabbages at Banyaka
one of the excellent cabbages
one of the excellent cabbages

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.

settlement tanks for the new toilets at Banyaka LBS
settlement tanks for the new toilets
settlement tanks for the new toilets at Banyaka LBS
settlement tanks for the new toilets
settlement tanks for the new toilets

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.

bookshelves in the library
bookshelves in the library
bookshelves in the library
bookshelves in the library
bookshelves in the library
bookshelves in the library
bookshelves in the library
seating in the library
seating in the library
the boys' toilet
the boys' toilet

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.

Banyaka food vending stall
Banyaka food vending stall
Banyaka food vending stall
Banyaka food vending stall
two views of the Banyaka food vending stall
Pageant is a UK Charity - Registered No 1093963