PAGEANT - "Education is the future"
King's Kid Academy 2006-2007
The King's Kid Academy (KKA) is located in Temasu, near Lamin, to the south west of Banjul.  It was founded in about 1996 by a Nigerian missionary to provide nursery education. There is no state provision for nursery education in The Gambia, so the school relied entirely on private funding. The school has expanded year by year, with the first batch of children moving up a grade each year and into primary grades. Children remain at KKA until they complete their primary education in Grade 6.
Pageant's first visit
Pippa and Ian paid their first visit to KKA during one of their regular trips to The Gambia in February 2006. They saw around the school, visited all the classrooms, met the teachers and arranged some donations for projects. KKA was added to the list of schools which Pageant helps.
Update September 2006
Steve Pitman, Pippa's colleague at ERA, ran in the 2006 Fleet Half Marathon, and raised £528 in sponsorship for Pageant. Here is his story:
"After weeks of training on cold, windy and dark nights the sun finally shone on race day for the 25th Fleet Half Marathon. This year I managed to complete the course in 1 hour 42 minutes and 9 seconds, some way off my personal best, but still below the 8 minute mile target.
Knowing that I was running for such a good cause was a real help, boosting my stride as we changed direction at 9 miles and headed into the wind. Many thanks to all those who contributed so generously with sponsorship for this event."
£390 of the money raised by Steve was donated to Kings Kid Academy. Altogether Pageant sent £600 for renovations and improvements at KKA - tiled floor, new tables and benches for the kids, new desk and notice board for the headmaster and new desks for the teachers.
Update October 2006
Ian & Pippa visited again in October 2006.
The headmaster, Mr Jacob Amadi, was very pleased to show the improvements he had made with Pageant's earlier donations. Pippa told him about how the Plymouth-Banjul Challenge teams were raising sponsorship donations for KKA and left an advance payment, which will be spent on metal doors, window frames and glass for the newly constructed block of three classroom in the Primary part of the school. The school marks the passage of its children from Nursery to Primary with a graduation ceremony. One of the pictures below shows children about six years old in Nursery Class 3, when they graduated at the end of last term. They look really cute in their little caps and gowns!
Trafalgar Community Infant School
A link was set up between KKA andin Horsham. Pippa and Ian took letters from the Headteacher, Mrs Lynne Wise and from several children to the little Gambian school in October 2006. Despite very short notice, they were able to bring back letters from Jacob Amadi, the Headmaster of KKA, two staff members and four of the children. Lynne Wise was very pleased to receive the letters and hoped that a good link will be formed between the two schools. Pageant members will be carrying more letters between the two schools.
Plymouth-Banjul Challenge 2007 - Desert Mice & First to the Bar
More help for this school came from teams in the 2007 Plymouth-Banjul Challenge. Desert Mice and First to the Bar decided to help Pageant's work in The Gambia, and chose King's Kid Academy as their particular project. Reports on their progress are on the. They successfully completed the Challenge, arriving in Banjul on 8 January. In all they raised around £3000 so that the school could continue its improvement programme.
A highlight of their trip was the visit to Kings Kid Academy where the headmaster showed them the school and they saw the work that had been carried out so far, such as the windows and doors of the two new classrooms. The children had been practising a performance which included songs, dance, poetry and a play. They even sang a song that mentioned 'Welcome Desert Mice...Welcome First to the Bar'.
Tina gives an art lesson
Pippa, her sister Tina and other Pageant members visited KKA in February 2007. Tina and her team brought rolls of brown paper, paints, sponges, brushes, scissors, colouring pens and pencils. They helped the children create a jungle with a wonderful collection of jungle animals, which was then mounted on the classroom wall. The school was expecting us - but the jungle was a complete surprise!
"We explained to the headmaster what we wanted to do. Somewhat surprised, but willing, he allowed us to take all the nursery school classes into one of the larger classrooms and Tina set about organising both us and the children into groups doing various things which would eventually be put together to make the jungle.
Now, one has to realise that these children have NEVER had any art materials to use before. They may have been able to use a few coloured pencils from time to time, but... dipping sponges into dishes of bright squidgy paint and then being able to press them onto large areas of paper; using big brushes to dip into bright paint and make patterns / splodges; colouring lots of animals with felt-tips / paints; glueing things onto other things; and being able to do all these thing all together with lots of grown-up toubabs (white people)... all this was SO much fun when they realised that, yes, they really could do these things themselves. The teachers were as excited as the children and entered into the project with great enthusiasm.
So the jungle.....
..the background was the roll of brown paper, unrolled down the classroom floor, with lots of small children having sponges and dishes of paint in varying shades of green to press onto it.
The animals, flowers and leaves were shown to the children and Tina explained that yes, they could colour / paint them ANY colour they liked and they would then be cut out to go in their jungle.
The enthusiasm was unbounded and the concentration was intense - for over an hour these small children were completely absorbed in their work, until every square inch of jungle was green and every animal, flower and leaf had been coloured and cut out. (We toubabs did the cutting out...)
Then, the great moment when it could all be put together and they could stick the animals etc onto the base.
We all agreed it was a splendid jungle and the teachers decided it would be put up on the wall of the nursery classrooms - the children were delighted that they could keep it, they had thought that we would take it away with us as it was so beautiful!