The sponsorships program has been going on since 2013, when the first volunteers of the Travel as Volunteer program decided to help unprivileged kids who would otherwise not go to school with the payment of school fees. Shortly after the beginning of the program, we realised that covering the school fees itself cannot ensure the child will be able to go to school since some parents will not be able to provide them with the money for school lunch, school uniform, transport fees and everything else that children need to go to school carefree. This is where the idea of monthly allowances came into consideration. With around 1000 dalasis (or more, depending on the sponsor's choice) per month, the child will be provided with school lunch, transport fees, and other minor things needed.
Kids are the World Nursery School was established to give children from the village who would otherwise not go to school the chance to get a good base of knowledge before entering primary school. Classes in primary school are mainly in the English language. Since many different ethnic groups live in The Gambia, kids' first language can be either Wolof, Mandinka, Jola, Fula, or any other local language. Teachers in the school would mostly speak English and another local language but will be very rarely able to translate entire lectures into all languages for the kids to understand. That is why it is very important for children to start understanding English from a young age. In the villages, not many older generations are fluent in English.
Moreover, they would not speak English at home. Also, parents can sometimes lack learning support, which is understandable considering that most never went to school. That is why these kids, although they got a chance to go to school, still face many challenges.
The illiterate population in The Gambia is still very high, and the process of achieving higher levels of education is not fast. But every single child counts, and the influence one highly educated child can have on the next generations is enormous.
This year we are proud to congratulate 28 children who graduated from the Nursery 3 level and will enter the first grade in the next academic year. Their sponsors will still support them to ensure their schooling will go on for as long as possible.
Kids are the World Nursery school is part of the career and the educational centre remains open throughout the summer holidays. With the help of international volunteers, local teachers are organising a summer camp for children who were going to our school this year and children from nearby villages who are going to other schools or not going to school. With the help of raised donations by the volunteers, we can provide school lunch for every child that is coming to engage in educational but fun activities this summer, as for many years before.
Summer camps are an excellent opportunity for the exchange of knowledge. Since 2013, the Travel as a Volunteer program has hosted many individuals and groups that decided to spend their holidays differently. Yes, there is heat and sometimes overwhelming feelings because of the difference in environment and customs. But the memories and broadening horizons, accepting the different cultures and realising the importance of gratitude can be life-changing.
We are happy we can host more than 60 volunteers this year with the wish to engage more of them each year. And we are pleased to provide free schooling for almost 100 kids in our nursery school with over 450 other children in The Gambia who their sponsors support in the mission to achieve a good education.