In 2009 INTO Giving partnered with the UK based charity, HELPING in the Gambia. HELPING runs six Gambian nursery schools and supports three basic schools. HELPING also works in partnership with the local communities to provide access to education, health care, clean water and nutrition. They raise funds to provide teachers and schools with resources to support literacy, numeracy, life-skills and self-esteem.

When INTO Giving first met the HELPING team, none of the nursery teachers had any qualifications and most instruction was by rote. The HELPING team asked us if we could help improve the quality of learning by providing funds to train eight nursery teachers. Training took place in their holidays, and the now fully qualified teachers have made a significant impact on the learning progress of the pupils.

Making a difference

The Government Regional Director visited the HELPING nurseries and each one was given 9/10 for the quality of teaching and the environment - the average in the country is four or five out of ten. The headteachers of the basic schools, to which the nursery children progressed, praised the quality of the newly trained teachers and said that, as a consequence, a number of the pupils were put straight in to Grade 2, skipping Grade 1.

Since then HELPING sends any unqualified staff on teacher training programmes, and employs 16 teachers and sponsors 340 children. They welcome volunteers, particularly teachers and nurses, and have recently built an accommodation block for volunteers.

 

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