The Sanyang Family – Gambia, West Africa
***2017-2018 School Year (Fundraising IN Progress NOW AT GoFundMe)
They say that service to others goes hand in hand with spiritual development, and that it helps raise your own vibration. Sometimes we go in search of these opportunities to help others…sometimes they find us. In this case, the need found me (Keith).
In December of 2014 I began communicating with Lamin Sanyang from The Gambia, West Africa. He is the eldest of 5 siblings and they live with their mother. His father died years ago, when Lamin was a teenager. Over time trust was built and Lamin and I became close. During that time I became keenly aware of the problems that this family faced.
After a while it became clear to me what the real issue was – or at least, one of them. There is no head of the household, no primary breadwinner – but that’s not the root of the problem. Looking deeper I found that there are no jobs for grade school graduates – the few that are available are reserved for those who complete post-graduate schooling. If a family does not have money to survive, they certainly don’t have money to pay for post-graduate schooling. Not only does this affect Lamin and Binta, who have both completed high school – it also affects the younger children in the household. The problem is lack of education. Compound that with a lack of birth control and family planning and the issue only grows.
As it turns out, school was not always free for high school and lower education – this is a very recent development in this country. Neither I nor the Sanyang family was even aware that the boys could go to school for free (we knew there were programs for girls to go to school for free). Still, all children need to purchase their own uniforms and books.
The solution was obvious – focus on education. So in July of 2016 myself and Gretchen Bickert started on the fundraising structure. The fundraiser ran approximately two months, and was successful. The first year was funded! Four children are now in school, and two older children (Lamin and Binta) are in post-secondary vocational schools.
Rather than feed a family for a day or month it became apparent that they would need to become self-sufficient. A three-year plan was put into place. After Binta’s second year of vocational school she will seek employment. After Lamin’s third year of school he will also seek employment. Two members of the household working, combined with the knowledge of 3 years of guidance and discipline, is how we see this family moving forward – on their own. And one day, they will help others.
2016-2017 School Year (FUNDED)
To see the original fundraiser for the 2016-2017 school year that was published on BetterPlace.org, click on the files below.
THE FUNDRAISER VIDEO – Summer 2016
THE FUNDRAISER SUCCESS VIDEO October 2016
UPDATES FROM THE 2017-2017 School Year
SCHOOL REPORT (by Lamin Sanyang) This is a short report of the first term at school, first of all everyone is delighted and happy that we have finally completed our first term of schooling in good health, happiness an success. Lamin, Isatou and Muhammed are the ones that have tests, actually the tests were fair, some of the subjects where some how hard but manageable. The comments from Isatou and Muhammed after their tests was that they were happy and believe that the tests was good. They are expecting a good result! We have 2 weeks of holidays and hopefully we will be given our first term results when we resume schools. Binta, Kineh and Yaya will not be having tests until their third term so they are lucky! They were all happy that the first term comes to an end and they are looking forward to the the Christmas holidays.
LIFE & POLITICS IN GAMBIA
Actually life is normal here at the moment, right now people are busy going up and down for the Christmas especially now that schools have closed. The political situation is really not good because the president that loose to the election and accepted the defeat made an announcement on the state TV after one week that he rejected the election and he loose due to an unfair election, he is asking for a fresh election, the nation were not happy with that announcement and both EU an UN have has made comments that the president should step down but he is still insisting that he is not living power. His 5 years term will end at the presidential office on 18 December 2017, The Elected president should resume office starting from the 18th so everyone is looking forward to that day because the former president say he is not leaving office. The nation is praying that everything goes smoothly.
SCHOOL REPORT (by Lamin Sanyang)
This week is called the sports week, it’s always been loved by most of the students as it is been held at all the schools around The Gambia. What they do is that each school has to be divided into 4 groups where by they will be competing each other to see which group will come out the winners at each school and secondly during the sports competition, teachers from each school select the best sports students in each school whereby the best athletes from each schools will meet at The Gambia National Stadium the following week to compete each other. Fans from all the schools are allowed to be at the stadium as we call that the finals because all the school in the Gambia do compete for it with their best athletes so the schools that come out first, second and third are all going to be given prices… it’s so fun.
SCHOOL REPORT (by Lamin Sanyang)
Since after the school sports ended, All the schools has get back to business immediately with their normal lessons.
As we are getting deep into the second term of the year every student is working hard to make sure that you will not encounter so much difficulties during tests an exams. I have also been having lots assignments that really keeps me busy but I love doing that.
Right now mom is really happy with how everyone is doing at school because her last visit at the children’s school she was quite impressed with what each of their class teachers told her, it’s clear now that they are already used to the school life and the environment which is really helping them a lot. During my free times I try to help them to study at night before they all sleep.
Right now their is not much to say bro but I want to assure you one thing which is that everyone is working very hard right now and we promise to continue with the hard work to make sure that you will all to be proud of us.
Take care and much love from the family.
PHOTOS from the 2016-2017 School Year Below
2017-2018 School Year (Fundraising IN Progress NOW AT GoFundMe)
We are now in year two of a three year project. This year Binta will complete her second and final year at the Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute. After that, she will seek employment. Lamin is entering his second year of three in order to accomplish a Diploma in Architectural Technology from the Gambia Technical Training Institute. After graduation, he will also seek work. Our goal is to have the two eldest children find work and then learn how to support their own family and become truly independent.
While we can’t speak for whether or not our “vibrations were raised” or if we became more “spiritual” due to our involvement in assisting the Sanyang Family, we can definitely say one thing for sure….
Our hearts have been forever touched.
It is truly an honor to be provided the opportunity to help others.
We thank everyone who participated in this project. We have 2 more years to go!
~Keith from the iDigitalMedium team