Feb 12, 2013, 11:07 AM
Jersey Overseas Aid Commission, in partnership with Shom Support Projects, both in the UK, have over the years spent more than ten million dalasis on meaningful projects in the West Coast Region of The Gambia (WCR).
The projects they are supporting target mostly schools, starting from lower basic, to upper basic and senior secondary schools.
The support has improved greatly the lives of tens of thousands of needy students, who have benefited significantly from the help.
Robin .J. Mallet and his spouse Carol Mallet are behind all the successes of the projects dated back to their 1998 inspirational visit to the country as tourists.
Since then they felt the need to contribute their quota in the development of the nation, after making a visit to several schools within the WCR.
Speaking to reporters, Robin .J. Mallet, founder of Jersey Technical Junior and Senior Secondary School, who is also the chairman of Gambia and Jersey, gave a brief explanation of how all the success story came about.
According to him, he and his spouse came in the country in 1998 as tourists, but they became inspirational after visiting schools within West Coast Region and realized the need to give their support.
He said they believe the help will improve the welfare and wellbeing of the schoolchildren and their schools in general.
He added that they did not hesitate to come back to The Gambia, after realizing that they needed to help to contribute their quota to the development of the country and the needy.
According to him, they initially assisted a school in Wellingara by refurbishing its well and further extended their help to Sinchu Baliya, a nearby community, by constructing a four-classroom block for them.
They also support more schools including those in Bullengahat, Kafenking Bambana, Jamisa, Jambanjelly and Kenbujeh.
“We also support Mahaad Senior Secondary School, Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI), Mayork School, Gambia College, Brikama Health Centre, either in a form of refurbishment of wells, provision of kitchens, toilets, hand pumps, computers, or scholarship,” he added.
According to him, all these projects started between 1998 and 2009, noting that they have brought more than ten 20ft containers full of materials destined for the country from 2004 to 2010.
In our search to extend support to the rural areas, which was motivated by President Jammeh’s call for such initiatives; they eventually went as far as to the village of Shom in the Kombo East District.
He said they started a skills training centre in their own initiative in 2007 through 2009 through a partnership with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education.
“The Jersey Technical Junior and Senior School, one can proudly say, is among one of the best schools within the region,” he said.
The school is well equipped with learning materials and a library stocked with stationery.
Mr Robin has expressed optimism that they will continue to develop the school for it to become self-dependent through creating sustainable projects that can generate funds.
Such initiatives they will undertake will include poultry farm, brawlers, animal husbandry, vegetable garden, borehole, fruit orchard, forestry among others.
A total of several more thousand pounds is expected to come in to improve the standard and welfare of the school, he said, adding that they will never relent in their efforts at achieving their desired objectives.
He commended John Walker and his wife, founders of Shom School Support, for their numerous support in improving the welfare of the school.
He finally commended Jersey Overseas Aid Commission, Jersey Africa Projects, the education director of region two, and the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education.