Our work in the Gambia has been ongoing for several years. It started with the provision of tailoring tools for skills training , and for professionals. We have extended our support to other areas to include the following:
We do not normally give out materials that are not used for income-generation, mobility or learning. The exception we have made here is to give out solar lamps to rural mothers. The use of firewood or paraffin lamps is a danger to mother and child living in thatch-roofed or straw houses. Waking up at night to attend to a baby’s needs mean lighting a fire or paraffin lamp and bringing it closer to the baby to see what you are doing. This results to serious burns sometimes.
Why we chose Solar Lamps
Safer than burning wood or lighting paraffin or kerosene lamp
Once the lamp is fully charged in the sun, light is available at any time of the night for up to eight hours. And, of course, it comes with the buzz words of environmental and ecological friendliness.
Cheap and very durable
The cost of buying one solar lamp is equivalent to the price of a foot-long Subway sandwich and a can of coke! Besides, a solar lamp last for years; a one-footer Subway and a can of coke lasts only 6 hours.
It is extremely cost effective to use solar lamps in rural areas. You do not need to buy paraffin or kerosene which is highly flammable. You only have to stand the lamp in the sun to recharge. Savings made from this could be spent to provide better health care for the mother and child.
It does not need maintenance
Solar lamps do not need maintenance, except for the occasional wiping of solar the panel to keep it free from dust, dirt or debris to allow the batteries to charge properly in the sun.
The PV cells are encapsulated in a protective weather-proof material. Therefore, solar lamps can be kept outside to charge even in the rainy season.
Tools for craftwork
Since Gambia was the starting point for our work, many supports for medical equipments, supply of school materials such as books, have been given to local hospitals and clinics, schools, and communities through visiting volunteers and partner organisations such as Harmony Gambia.
By early 2013 we aim is to extend our support to local craftsmen and women in the Gambia with additional woodcarving tools. It will enable them to participate fully in the tourist industry through quality craftwork.
Most schools in the Gambia are bare; i.e. without reading and writing materials. Children use slates to write on, and they are unable to keep their notes to read at home.
We focus on supplying reading and writing materials for children and also for staff to use for teaching.
Our 2013 work will focus on the West Coast region including Brikama, Siffo and Marakissa.