There is a problem with funding Penyem Nursery School. Since we have been working in Penyem, most of the children who attend the village Day Care and Nursery School have been supported by sponsors. The daily running of the school has been funded by The Child Fund Charity. This organisation pays for the general day to day running of the school including paying the salaries of the teachers. NTF has subsidised the teachers salaries in recent years by sponsorship from a syndicate of UK sponsors.
About 100 children from Penyem have sponsors. Some attend the Nursery School and others have moved on to Lower Basic Schools (Primary Schools) – having to walk to other villages as Penyem does not have a Lower Basic School. Some children now attend Penyem Upper Basic School. The sponsorship donation from our sponsors covers things like uniforms, shoes, lunches, books, health and social care. It does not cover the costs of the school administration.
The problem is that Child Fund has fallen on hard times and has had to make cutbacks. In this case they have withdrawn financial support for Nursery Education. This means that the Day Care and Nursery School cannot function as the teachers cannot be paid and basic materials cannot be purchased. This will happen from June 2015.
If there is a positive to be had from this, the Gambian Government has agreed to start a Lower Basic School (Primary School) in the village from September 2014. This means the children do not have to walk the long distances to the next village to get to school. Fortunately the Day Care and Nursery School has sufficient classroom space to accommodate the new school for the time being until a new school is built. (Thanks to our previous building programme). However, the Gambian Government cannot afford to support Nursery Education.
In September 2014 Andy Butler from NTF went to Penyem to see what we could do to help. It has been agreed to support the Nursery School from June 2015. This will take all of the surplus annual funds. Whilst short term, this is not a problem, we are seeking a sponsor for the school who will be prepared to take on the annual sponsorship.
We would love to hear from you if you can help. Maybe we could name the school after the new sponsor?!