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 [map]
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 the past three years, with two further classrooms and a
kitchen, to enable it to cater for 160-180 children.
We have split the SHM
webpage into two parts.
See Page 1
for earlier stories.
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.
play equipment in use at Sheik Hatab
Memorial Nursery School
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
their web page.
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. (see
more about the 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.
cooking the lunch
lunches ready to serve
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!
children eating their
Ahmed sent this message
"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
Ahmed sent us these
latest photos of SHM kids having their lunch.
girls eating their lunch
these boys prefer a more
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.
furthest from camera, right up against the boundary
inside the new classroom
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