“NOMBADA “(greetings in Fula), from a sunny SOS Children's Village Basse where we are experiencing the heat during the day and relatively cooler climates in the evening. As always we all hope for the summer rains to come quickly when we would all go back to the land as usual. Right now the entire country is dry and dusty with little green and even less vegetation for the cattle and wildlife. It has been a very loaded and exciting six month period in our beautiful village in the region because of its architectural design and landscape above all the unity of purpose. Our structures have also given a big face lift and standing to the town of Basse. The village currently accommodates 98 children 36 girls (9 of who are babies) and 62 boys (2 of who are babies). All of them except 8 babies are enrolled in the schools.
The SOS Children’s Village took part in the first ever National Review of the Strategic Plan held in April 2010.This helped us gauge our performance for the first quarter and also enabled us to redirect our efforts towards areas that needed redress. This year’s SOS Day Celebration was done in grand style, sweeping the children, guests and staff off their feet and making it a memorable day in their lives. This time around many activities will take place in the form of competitions as “The Most Child Friendly House” and “Best Front Yard Garden”, “The Best Cake” prepared by children and their mothers and the Fastest Family i.e. children and mother of one house competing in a relay against other houses and “The Best Singing House” and to crown it all “Miss Mother SOS”. The cat walk will be the most interesting part as mothers and aunties have started rehearsing and are putting in all their efforts as all of them are hopeful to be the winner. Academically outstanding SOS children were awarded prizes ranging as motivation for a wonderful performance.
SOS Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools
The SOS Nursery was at the forefront of efforts that culminated in the formation of The Nursery Teachers’ Association in Basse and its executive is chaired by our Nursery Head. This is a landmark event in rural Gambia and is supervised by the Regional Education Directorate. This association coordinates all learning and sporting activities of the 7 member schools which includes joint material production workshops, inter nursery school sports competitions, joint Common Wealth and Independence Day celebrations, inter school quiz competitions and the sharing of best practices.
Our Nursery educator has demonstrated the SOS spirit of generosity by stepping into the educational live of a poor pupil in the final level of her nursery school and changed the situation for the better. This particular pupil was unable to pay for transportation cost to and from school and so stopped coming to school for about two weeks. Thanks to the timely intervention of this educator and now she is enjoying her schooling and in fact getting ready for her entrance exams for grade one
The SOS Lower Basic School held its interhouse competition on the 24th February 2010 and Green house emerged the winners. A General PTA meeting was held to discuss with the parents pertinent issues concerning the smooth running of the school. General cleaning of all the school is regularly carried out every last Friday of the month to keep our environment up to standard. Eight children from the drama group participated in a drama competition organized by CADO a local NGO as part of celebration marking World Aids Day. Two staff attended a two days training on deworming and then children under the age range from 6-15 were dewormed. A Grade four teacher attended a workshop on method of reading and later had a briefing session with the rest of the staff for implementation in their various classes. Election of POTS (Persons of Trust) was held and two teachers were chosen by the children who attended a training organized by the National Child Protection Focal Point SOS Gambia. Open days as usual was held and parents came and had discussions with teachers with regard their children’s academic performances and other issues. Extra classes are in progress to enhance performances and expedite the completion of the syllabus. Bi- weekly internal assessments and examinations were successfully carried out. End of term activities were held in the form of interclass football and quiz competition. The French club took part with other schools at Nasir Senior School to celebrate international francophone day which was in the form of reciting poems in French. The academic performance of children have improved rapidly at least 90% are above average. Remedial are measures are in progress to up lift the weak ones academically with the close collaboration of the parents and educators.
Family Strengthening Programme
The Family Strengthening Programme took off in March. The National Family Strengthening Programme Coordinator and the staff of Family Strengthening Programme Basse embarked on sensitising the target groups and identifying of the beneficiaries. For a start we intend to begin with 350 children as beneficiaries. The programme is just at its initial stage and presently the staff are using the Schools computer lab as an office until such a time that their office is completed just to see that the work progresses.
SOS Family join me to wish you all the very best and thank you for your support towards our work for the needy children of our country The Gambia.
Mrs. Mariama Bayo Sidibeh
National Sponsorship Coordinator