SOS Children in The Gambia

SOS Children Sponsorship Sites in Gambia

Gambia on the Atlantic coast of north-west Africa is the smallest country in Africa and one of its poorest, with neither properly developed health or education systems. The economy is based on agriculture, which provides a living for most of the population, usually at subsistence level. Industrialisation is still in its beginnings, although tourism has become a major industry in recent years.

The charity first started in Gambia in 1982 with a community in Bakoteh, a short distance from the city of Serrakunda and about 15kms from the capital, Banjul. The ten family houses, built in the local style and surrounded by flowers, shrubs and trees, are home to around 100 children and their SOS mothers. There is a kindergarten, used by local children as well, and a primary school which is now run by the national education authority.

SOS Children in The Gambia

In 1990 a technical high school was built. A senior secondary school, it gives children from both the SOS Children's community and the surrounding area the opportunity to obtain a school leaving certificate with three possibilities of specialisation. Vocational and technical training is also offered in agriculture, textiles and construction. In 2003 the school had 600 pupils, over 90 per cent of whom were from the local community. With its 28 classrooms and laboratories and workshops, the school is one of the largest in The Gambia.

Further opportunities to acquire trades are provided by a Vocational and Production Training Centre. Five youth houses provide accommodation for young people from SOS Children's Villages in neighbouring countries who come here for training. The centre has workshops for metal working, carpentry, car mechanics, vehicle body repairs and dressmaking and also operates as a production and service unit supplying the general public, making it to some extent self-sufficient.

A shortage of medical facilities in the area led to the establishment of an SOS Mother and Child Clinic in 1997. The clinic has four wards - casualty, delivery, children's and isolation - as well as an outpatients' department and pharmacy. An ambulance is available to transport emergency cases. Preventive medicine, diagnosis and treatment are carried out using the latest equipment which, with its highly-trained staff, has made the clinic one of Gambia's most important medical facilities providing services and assistance to around 6,000 people in the locality each year as well as the children and young people living in the SOS Children's community.

A second SOS Children's Village will open in Basse in the east of the country in 2007. There will be 12 family homes plus an SOS Nursery School. There will also be an SOS Primary School for over 400 children.

Local Contacts

SOS Children's Villages of The Gambia

SOS Children's Villages of The Gambia, Hermann Gmeiner Drive Way, Bakoteh, PMB 28 GPO, Banjul
Tel: +220/4/46 08 36 or +220/4/46 43 61
Fax: +220/4/46 43 61 or +220/4/46 08 41

Gambia, The Child Sponsorship

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