PAGEANT - "Education is the future"
Sheik Hatab Memorial Nursery School (2)
Sheik Hatab Memorial Nursery School (known for short as SHM Nursery) is the only nursery school to offer both Western and Islamic tuition in the village of Gunjur  in the south of The Gambia.
The school is open to children from the surrounding community aged between 3 and 6 and is operated by a charitable organization 'Success Foundation of Gunjur'. It was designed for 100 students, with equal numbers of boys and girls, four qualified teachers and a teaching assistant. It originally consisted of a single building with two classrooms, a hall, an office, a store, three toilets, and a shower, and has been extended over several years, with two further classrooms and a kitchen, to enable it to cater for 160-180 children.
January 2011 - Sue & Phil Taylor install outdoor play equipment
SHM, like many nursery schools in The Gambia, lacked outdoor play equipment. Sue and Phil Taylor organised the collection of suitable equipment from schools in the UK which were closing down, and shipped this to The Gambia. In January 2011, Sue and her family visited SHM to set up the play equipment, and work with the teachers to structure the outside play activities so that all the children get a chance to learn to play and co-operate.
Sue and Phil's project is to collect more outdoor play equipment, and organise shipping further container loads to the Gambia, for distribution to other nurseries and primary schools. Read more about their project on.
Update October 2011 - Ahmed's Feeding Programme
Pippa and Ian visited Gunjur SHM Nursery in October 2011. They took Ahmed Manjang enough money so he could start his school 'Feeding Programme' - the provision of school lunches - from his newly built, Pageant funded kitchen. () The children would pay a small amount, 5 dalasis, for each lunch, which should be enough to make the scheme self financing. However, there was no money available at the school to start the whole process off. So, after discussion amongst the Trustees, Pageant decided to give Ahmed and his school committee enough money to buy food for lunches for half a term - after that they would be on their own.
In anticipation of Pippa and Ian's visit, Ahmed had bought (out of his own pocket) enough food for the very first lunches, which were being cooked when they arrived. At that time the women had not learned how to cook with the built-in brick stove, so they were cooking over open fires and it was VERY hot and smoky - however, lunches were produced and the children RUSHED to be served - huge excitement!
Ahmed sent this message to Pageant:
"Thank you also for helping me in realizing my dream, it was great to have my school up and running but to have the feeding program up and running is just the topping of my cake and I just cannot thank you well enough for your generous support. These will have been distance dream without your help. Pippa with the number of times you have been to the Gambia, you need no convincing that for some of these kids, this feeding program at the school is their only source of fairly balanced diet.
Now the women started using the brick stove few days after your visit and it is virtually smoke free and fuel cost have been significantly reduced. 2011 was great for our collaboration and I looking forward to even stronger collaboration with your great charitable organization, PAGEANT in 2012."
Update January 2012 - A New Classroom
Ahmed has sent us these photos of the new classroom he is building. The new classroom has been positioned behind the classroom he built a couple of years ago, and will be the last, as the school is running out of space.
When this classroom is completed, the school will have four large classrooms plus a central hall, teachers' office and indoor toilets, together with the kitchen, which is just at the end of the main building. There is a long waiting list of children for admission, but Ahmed is refusing to have enormous classes as he says that the children will not learn properly.