Since 2007 Project Gambia has been a part of life at Ridgewood High School. When first established the aim of the project was for students, staff and members of the local community to travel to The Gambia for a week each year to experience first hand life in a developing country to understand the issues world poverty and appreciate the benefits of the society in which they live.
The Project works with the UK Charity Newlife Childrens Centres which currently has two schools in The Gambia at Kanefing and Half Dye. Each year we work in both schools delivering a range of activities such as art and craft, sport, music, drama. We also paint and refurbish the inside and outside of both schools.
Project Gambia has raised in excess of £20000 which has helped provide the schools with much needed equipment and resources and over 17 Gambian children are sponsored to attend school at Kanefing or Half Dye schools by either Ridgewood or members of our local community.
Another focus of our work is the village of Kotusilo, a poor area of the Gambia where people live in very basic conditions. Students distribute rice and mosquito nets and spend time in the homes of families with whom we have developed friendships over the years.
Latest Projects include the farm extension at Sintet and solar powered water pump. The donations to support the clinic providing free medical care for children at Kanifing and Half Dye schools. The redevelopment of Madiana school providing classroom painting, excersise books and classroom chairs and tables.
The impact Project Gambia is having in the lives of the students, staff and members of the local community is difficult to measure. For many it proves to be a life changing experience. For many the trip to The Gambia is just the start of a life time journey and is best summed up in the words of some of the students who have been part of it: "The experience made me a better person as what I got to experience made me more aware of poverty. It changes my outlook on life." Josh "The week I spent in The Gambia had a massive impact on my life, it was life changing and I would do it time and time again." Dani
The Gambia (officially the Republic of the Gambia), also commonly known as Gambia, is a country in West Africa. It is surrounded by Senegal, apart from a short strip of Atlantic coastline at its western end. It is the smallest country on mainland Africa. The country is situated either side of the Gambia River, the nation's namesake, which flows through the country's centre and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Its area is 11,295 Kim with an estimated population of 1,882,450 at the 15 April 2013 Census (provisional), the Gambia gained independence from the United Kingdom and joined the Commonwealth of Nations. Banjul is the Gambia's capital, but the largest cities are Serenaded and Bergama.
The Gambia shares historical roots with many other West African nations in the slave trade, which was the key factor in the placing and keeping of a colony on the Gambia River, first by the Portuguese and later by the British. Since gaining independence in 1965, the Gambia has enjoyed relative political stability, with the exception of a brief period of military rule in 1994. Thanks to the fertile land of the country, the economy is dominated by farming, fishing, and tourism. About a third of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.