PAGEANT - "Education is the future"

Visits to schools October 2003

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During their trip to The Gambia in October 2003, Ian and Pippa visited more educational establishments than ever before. Gifts of general educational supplies, including more microscopes that had been donated by the RMS, were taken to the schools at Sinchu Baliya, Bakalarr, Kalagi and Jarreng and each of these schools had arranged a programme of events as a way of thanking Pageant for the aid they have received. The photographs give glimpses of the hospitality we received at all four schools.

a crowd of excited children at Sinchu Baliya

at Bakalarr some people sit on chairs others look on as some children perfom a dance

Sinchu Baliya


at Kalagi children and staff gather in an assembly hall

children at Jarreng in blue uniforms - the boys dance while the girls look on and clap



The Microscopical Drawing Competitions had been held at Bakalarr and Jarreng and the entries were judged and certificates and prizes presented to the winners. Sinchu Baliya's Science Club had trebled its membership since our visit in February, and had held a second competition - these entries were also judged, with the results being kept secret until the prize giving which will take place next February. Microscopes were taken to three further schools - Latrikunda Sabiji, Brikama and Sanchaba Sulay Jobe - and in each case they were welcomed with great excitement by both pupils and staff.

A more complex, compound microscope, donated by a reader of Pippa's article in the RMS Proceedings, was taken to the University in Banjul together with a number of text books. The books went to the Registrar for distribution to the relevant departments and the microscope was given to the Head of the Biology Department, who said she felt as though a good fairy had dropped in from the sky! Other gifts of books, many of which had been donated by Crawley College, were taken to the Hotel School, the Business College and the Technical College and were received with many thanks and hopes of more to follow.

At all these establishments we were warmly welcomed and shown round some of the teaching and practical areas - the Hotel School was of particular interest to us as many of the hotel staff that we have got to know during our visits to The Gambia have trained there. In every case the staff are doing an amazingly good job with few or outdated facilities and the students all seem eager to make the most of their opportunities.

We visited sponsored children at several other schools, including Crab Island Upper Basic School in Banjul, where one Pageant member has been setting up a computer room for the pupils to learn basic computer skills. The photographs show some of the children using the computers.  For more news about Crab Island School see the Crab Island Page.

at Crab Island a girl student uses a computer in the computer room another girl student uses a computer at Crab Island
Crab Island computer room

Other visits were made, to KMJ Memorial Nursery School and LIFE Nursery School. It is always a particular pleasure to visit KMJ and this time was no exception - we took a number of educational aids and toys with us and the children left us in no doubt as to how pleased they were with the gifts! It was our first visit to LIFE and we were impressed with this school as well - we will be taking them some goodies in February.

children at KMJ nursery school seated and grinning at the camera children at Life nursery school sitting at their desks
KMJ Nursery School LIFE Nursery School

In all we visited 12 schools, 4 colleges and the University and managed to see 51 of our 60 sponsored children - not bad in two weeks!

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