PAGEANT - "Education is the future"

Frequently Asked Questions

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Pageant is a registered UK Charity (Charity No. 1093963), started in 2002 by Pippa and Ian Howard. Pageant is an acronym for Projects Aiding Gambian Education And Natural Talent. Pageant provides help for education in The Gambia - a small West African country.

We firmly believe that education is one of the surest ways of improving living standards in The Gambia, enabling people to help themselves in the long run.

No, our work is confined solely to people living, working and studying within The Gambia.

Many Gambian schools charge fees for pupils to attend. Even in 'non fee-paying' schools pupils must buy their own uniforms, text books, exercise books, writing and other classroom materials and a daily school meal. Pageant helps poor families with sponsorship to pay school fees and/or other necessary expenses. [more about sponsorship]

Many Gambian schools are in very basic premises, and lack the facilities and equipment we take for granted in the UK. Pageant helps schools with things such as water and electricity supply, provision of furniture and teaching equipment, and helps with construction of school buildings - classrooms, toilets and kitchens. This helps to improve the environment in which children learn.

Malaria is endemic in The Gambia. Sickness may prevent children attending school, so Pageant distributes mosquito nets to poor families. [more about mosquito nets] Pageant is also involved in promoting an anti-malarial herbal treatment using Artemisa Annua. A tea made from the leaves of this plant has a proven anti-malarial effect [more about Artemisia]

Pageant also helps with small projects for women in poor rural villages, providing income which results in improved health and living conditions. [more about micro-loans]

Pageant is a UK registered charity, but we are also a democratic organisation run by our members. Pageant has an Annual General Meeting (usually in January) when members have the opportunity to elect committee members, and decide on the way Pageant works.

Pageant's members pay an annual subscription, and this covers our operating expenses. This means that 100% of donations, sponsorship, and other fundraising is available to finance our work in The Gambia. [more about membership]

Membership fees are payable annually, either by cheque or direct bank transfer.

Sponsorship payments can be paid in one instalment by the same methods, or spread out over the year (quarterly or monthly) by Standing Order from your bank account.

For people outside UK and without a UK bank account there is a payment facility set up on our website.

School fees and the cost of books, uniforms etc. limit the opportunities available to less well-off children. According to 2012 UNICEF figures, about 30% of Gambian children do not attend primary school, often because the family is too poor to pay. This figure rises to about 65% for secondary schools.

Schools try to give some latitude in payment, but eventually they will exclude children if fees are not paid. Sponsoring children from poor families can make all the difference, allowing them to reach their full potential and contribute to the future prosperity of The Gambia.
[More about sponsorship]

It costs less than 25p per day to sponsor a nursery or primary age child to go to school. The amount of sponsorship that we recommend depends on the child's grade at school, as shown below.

school grade UK equivalent annual amount
Nursery
1-6 Primary
7-9 to GCSE
10-11 leading to A-level
12 final A-level year
Further Education Varies - please ask

Further education costs vary depending on the course. As these can be much higher than for school students, we suggest 'group sponsorship' where a number of people club together to sponsor a single student.

Pageant also runs an Emergency Sponsorship Fund, which can be used to pay fees and expenses of students who do not currently have a permanent sponsorship arrangement. [More about sponsorship][Make a donation to the emergency fund]

Pageant maintains a list of students who are having problems paying their school fees and have been recommended to us by their teachers. We publish photos and brief details on our website, so that you can request additional information in order to choose who to sponsor.
[see students requiring sponsorship]

Yes - and we will make checks to see that the child does go to school as intended by you.

Yes we do! You can buy a Pageant Ethical Gift which helps schools, children, villagers and small projects in The Gambia. You don't actually receive a banana plant or a sack of rice, but instead we send you an illustrated gift token. Unlike some other ethical gift schemes, we actually purchase the gift you choose and ensure it goes to the intended recipient in The Gambia. We don't make substitutions, and we don't charge a handling fee. Also, where possible, we purchase the gift in The Gambia, so avoiding transportation costs and helping the local economy.
[more about ethical gifts]

Pageant employs a number of 'agents' in the Gambia, who keep a close eye on projects we are currently funding. Pageant also maintains very close relationships with head teachers of schools which have sponsored pupils.
[More about our agents]