PAGEANT - "Education is the future"
Sheik Hatab Memorial Nursery School (1)
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.
Pageant's First Visits
After receiving a plea for help, Pageant first visited in October 2008, having sent enough furniture in the summer 2008 container shipment to enable the founder, Ahmed Manjang, to open the school. In January 2008, Pageant provided a further shipment to complete the nursery classroom requirements.
Pippa, Ian and a group of Pageant members then visited the school in February 2009 to see the fully-furnished classrooms and introduced the children to finger-painting, which was much enjoyed by everyone..
Update April 2009 - Singing, storytelling and finger painting
In April 2009, Pageant members Tina and Frances spent a morning with the children of SHM Nursery School singing, storytelling and painting - and all had a marvellous time.
Update October 2009 - Bookshelves and Classroom Furniture
Pageant members Pippa, Linda and Ian visited the school in October 2009, together with Pageant agents Wandifa and Yankuba and driver Abdoulie. The school had received 40 chairs and 3 bays of double width shelving from the recent container, and the men set to work assembling the shelving.
The shelving (see example in photo) was donated by Novartis in Horsham. All the classroom furniture at this school has been donated by Pageant - in all 156 children's chairs, 41 children's tables (seating 3-4), 8 teachers' chairs, 3 large classroom storage units and the 3 bays of shelving.
Meanwhile Pippa met members of the school's Mother's Club to set up a Pageant Loan Scheme. (see details on our)
Update February 2010 - Perimeter Wall and Bananas
Pageant gave Ahmed Manjang £800 for building the perimeter wall. When Pageant visited the school in February 2010, they were pleased to see that the wall had been completed and painted. (The Gambians call this a fence despite being built from concrete blocks.) They also saw the plantations of bananas and other fruit around the school.
Update May 2010 - The New Kitchen
Ahmed Manjang, the school's founder, has just sent us some photos of the newly completed kitchen. It is positioned on the corner of the main classroom building, with a tiled pathway which should minimise dust entering the kitchen during lunch times. The kitchen range is a new invention in The Gambia which uses a very small amount of firewood and is virtually smoke free. This greatly reduces the carbon footprint and the plantation of bananas surrounding the kitchen compensates for much of the greenhouse gas emissions.
Pageant provided funding for the materials for the new kitchen at a cost of 62,900 dalasis (about £1,480).
Update September 2010 - Bananas
Ahmed Manjang sent us these photos of the banana plants Pippa and Ian saw in February.
Update December 2010 - New Tiled Floors
Ann and Brian Keating took these photos on a recent visit, showing the new tiled floors. Pageant covered the cost of £1400, with £545 of this donated by Pageant member Andrew Rattray in memory of his brother. He raised the money through his firm,by making a small pallet of books for his customers to bid on, with the money thus raised coming to Pageant. Ann and Brian said that the standard of the tiling work is really excellent and the whole school is now tiled - three classrooms, headmaster's office and storeroom, toilets and central 'hall'.