CHS in The Gambia
A CHS trip was organised by former Head of Geography. Stationery and clothes were taken and the group visited the High School and Kwenella School, near Tendaba. Another school in the village of Dumbuto had approached the School by 2000, and in 2002 a relationship with the Badrudeen Islamic School in Soma was developed.
Since that time, charitable donations by the CHS Community have been used across a number of projects, with Sixth Form students visiting the area every two years to see how the funds are used and learn about life in the region.
At Dumbuto classrooms have been repaired and a new roofing and flooring installed. A perimeter wall was built to help keep goats out and funding was provided to set up small garden plots, providing money for goats and chickens. The success of this project meant that the Dumbuto school was on a more financially secure, as they sold the produce and funding was transferred elsewhere.
Help was also provided in the wider community in the village, providing agricultural machinery, seeds and fertiliser, establishing a skills centre to train school leavers.
At the Badrudeen Islamic School, CHS firstly provided a well as the school had no water supply. A kitchen was built so hot meals could be provided for lunch. The school expanded and CHS funded a new classroom block, a library, toilets and an office for the teachers and Head.
In the community of Soma, CHS provided a further well, built in 2008, reducing the time women had to walk to collect water, freeing them up to provide for their family.
The women set up a community cooperative, The Women’s Group, with capital provided by CHS, setting them up to start candle making and dyeing cloth. The women are given a loan from the cooperative to buy raw materials; they make either candles or clothes and sell them, using the profit to educate the girls (in poor families, boys are educated in preference to girls). The loan is then repaid and can be lent to someone else. As an extension to this, the Cheadle Hulme Community Skills Centre evolved; the community provided the land and CHS donations funded the construction of the building. The Women’s Group has made a huge difference to the community.
Following on from the biannual trips, in 2014 staff and students laid the foundation stones for Cheadle Hulme School Soma.
As of 2019, Cheadle Hulme School Soma has 89 students on roll, 42 girls and 47 boys. The guaranteed “one meal a day” feeding programme, privately funded by Ian Ray, has meant an increase of 48% in enrolment. The children are aged 3-5 and approximately 63% come from very poor homes and will get their main meal of the day from the school.
The School now has five classrooms, an office, kitchen, three toilets and a tap as a direct result of the funding from CHS.
To find out more about the students' experiences, read the Gambia Trip diary on the Be Extraordinary blog