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Sinchu Baliya LBS & Resource Centre

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Background

Sinchu Baliya Lower Basic School is located in a densely populated area of the Western Region about 10 miles from Banjul. [map showing school location] It is one of the largest primary schools in The Gambia. Pageant helped to finance the building and equiping of a Resource Centre for teaching and for use by the school's Science Club.

Updates on this page

Building the Resource Centre - November 2004

Construction of the Resource Centre at Sinchu Baliya continues. The initial funding was provided by the staff at CEA, where Pageant member Linda Murgatroyd ran a very successful raffle the previous Christmas. Pageant then received the wonderful total of 1,125.00 from Chris Hyde and his friends - almost all the money pledged for their Three Peaks Challenge Our grateful thanks go to those who took part in the Challenge on Pageant's behalf - Simon Kerr, Penelope Gow, John Graham and of course Chris himself. Some of this money was used for the construction of the Resource Centre, and the reset to complete unfinished classrooms at Siffoe School.

concrete blocks made on site drying out in rows with a large pile of sand behind
making the concrete blocks
EB, one of the pupils at the school, sits on a pile of concrete blocks
EB, one of the pupils, and some blocks
partly built walls of the classroom block
partly built walls
Ian and members of the staff look at the partly built walls of the classroom block
Ian & staff members look at the walls
Science Club Coordinator, Omar Janneh, and a pupil stand in front of the building, with the walls completed to roof level
progress November 2004
The teacher with his hand on the window ledge is Omar Janneh, the school Science Club Co-ordinator
January 2005 - work still in progress on the resurce centre
progress January 2005

Science Club and Microscopy Competition

Our visit to Sinchu Baliya began with a presentation by the now flourishing Science Club. Several individual children gave us short, spoken passages on each of the five senses and then a group sang us a delightful song on the same subject. We presented prizes and certificates for the 'Fascinated by Birds' competition that had been run in co-operation with Schools Across the World (SAW) earlier in the year. None of the Gambian children who entered had won the SAW prizes, but we thought that their standard was worthy of Pageant awards. As well as the children's individual prizes we presented a pair of binoculars to Omar Janneh, the Science Club Co-ordinator, for use by the whole club. These were to be called the 'Malick Barry' binoculars in recognition of the exceptional entry by the winner of the younger age group (12 and under).

Pippa presenting Malick with his certificate and prize
Pippa presenting Malick with his certificate & prize
drawing of a termite >>
drawing of a termite as seen under a microscope
drawing of a termite

Many of the children had completed competition entries for drawing leaves, termites and parts of a cockroach as seen through their microscopes. We brought these home with us for judging at our leisure, as there were too many of them to be assessed properly while we were at the school. Certificates and prizes for the winners will be presented in February - one of the winning entries is shown above.

Resource Centre Update February 2005

"We visited Sinchu Baliya on our last full day in The Gambia, mainly because Linda had only arrived in The Gambia during our last weekend. We wanted her to be with us to see how work on the Resource Centre was coming along, as a large part of the expenditure to date had been raised by her colleagues at Cambridge Education. We were welcomed by lines of clapping and singing children and greeted by Mr Cham, the Headmaster, and several members of his staff. On being shown round the school, we found that the building had progressed a little since our visit in October - the block-work had been completed - but there was still no sign of any roofing, nor doors, windows or flooring.

children of Sinchu Baliya lined up in welcome
welcome by lines of children
girls line up in their blue uniforms
some of the girls
Sinchu Baliya Resource Centre - walls completed but no roof
unfinished Resource Centre
Linda discussing progress >>
Linda discusses progress with school staff
Linda discussing progress

Having expressed our disappointment at the unfinished state of the building, we then had lengthy discussions with Mr Cham and some of his staff about the cost of the work that needed doing to complete the structure. We eventually decided to employ a different sub-contractor (Jola, a personal recommendation to Linda) to organise the rest of the building work and Kemo is going to keep a much closer watch on how things are progressing. We also stressed how we wished the community to become more involved in the work, in a similar manner to projects carried out in the up-country village schools. This has obviously been noted, as we have just received some photographs of the children and staff levelling the floors in preparation for the laying of the concrete.

staff and pupils working on levelling the floors for the Resource Centre
work in progress on the floors for the Resource Centre
a group picture of everyone involved in the floor work
work in progress on the floors for the Resource Centre
work in progress on the floors for the Resource Centre

We have also heard from Jola and Kemo that the roof trusses, doors and windows have all been made and that Kemo was going to inspect the work before paying further funds for concrete (floors and plastering) and corrugate (roof). Linda is due to go out to The Gambia again before long (on business this time) and hopes to see a big improvement in the Resource Centre at her next visit.

Resource Centre Update April 2005

The Resource Centre at Sinchu Baliya now has its roof on, and plastering of the walls in in progress.

external view showing the Resource Centre with its roof on
external view showing roof in place
work in progress inside the Resource Centre, with a wall just plastered
inside view with wall plastered

Presentation of Prizes and Seeds for the Garden

In November 2005, Pageant Visited Sinchu Baliya Lower Basic School and were shown round the newly decorated and furnished Resource Centre. Omar Janneh, the Science Co-ordinator of the school, had undertaken the work with his Scout troop during the summer holidays and the new building looked really splendid. We were really pleased with the Resource Centre. The only things needed now are some shelves to take the many books that have been donated to the school. At present the books are stacked in piles on the floor, around the walls of the room.

Sinchu Baliya Resource Centre 1
Sinchu Baliya Resource Centre
Sinchu Baliya Resource Centre 2
Sinchu Baliya Resource Centre
Sinchu Baliya Resource Centre

Pippa presented prizes to last year's Grade 3 children who had done some drawings of things seen under their microscope and introduced the children and teachers to the new Trekker microscope, which proved to be very popular.

presentation of prizes 1
presentation of prizes
presentation of prizes 2
presentation of prizes
presentation of prizes
presentation of prizes 3
presentation of prizes
presentation of prizes 4
presentation of prizes
presentation of prizes
trying out the Trekker microscope 1
trying out the Trekker
trying out the Trekker microscope 2
trying out the Trekker
trying out the Trekker

Seeds for the school vegetable gardens

A large pack of different vegetable seeds, collected at Harvest Festival in UK, was presented to the school and we visited the school gardens, which had been laid out and prepared for sowing We explained that money had been collected in addition to the seeds and that each school / village garden was to have 2,000 dalasis (just over 40) to spend on tools. The staff in charge of the gardens promised to let us have a prioritised list of tools as soon as they had discussed the matter.

Sinchu Baliya children with some of the vegetable seeds
Sinchu Baliya children with some of the vegetable seeds
Sinchu Baliya school garden ready for sowing the seeds
Sinchu Baliya school garden ready for sowing the seeds

Visit by Plymouth-Banjul Team Ibrakeforcake

The Plymouth-Dakar Challenge was conceived in 2003 by Devon businessman Drew Heavey. The idea was to buy an old car for no more than 100, and then drive it from the UK to Banjul - a total distance of about 3700 miles. As well as raising funds by sponsorship, the cars were sold at the end and all proceeds given to local good causes. The challenge went from strength to strength with over 200 cars in the 2006 and 2007 challenges.

Team Ibrakeforcake consisted of Chris Lawler and Dave Branfield driving an Isuzu Trooper. They were accompanied throughout their trip by Ed the Croc, a 71cm fluffy green crocodile, who appears in one of the photos below. They successfully completed the challenge, raising 4000 for Sinchu Baliya LBS. They visited the school, accompanied by Pageant's agents Kemo and Alimatou, and were warmly welcomed by the staff and children.

arriving at Sinchu Baliya LBS
arriving at Sinchu Baliya
Dave and Alimatou walking in behind the car
Dave and Alimatou walking in behind the car
A welcome song accompanied by drumming
a welcome song accompanied by drumming (on the plastic gallon containers)
a welcome from the school Scout Troop
a welcome from the school Scout Troop
Boys inspecting the car
boys inspecting the car
Chris & Kemo with two of the many footballs
Chris & Kemo with two of the many footballs
Chris, Dave and Ed with the headmaster
Chris, Dave (and Ed) with the headmaster
being shown into the Resource Centre
being shown into the Resource Centre
the library at the Resource Centre
the library at the Resource Centre
the school garden
the school garden
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