Child Aid Gambia is a grassroots charity that works hard to alleviate poverty and suffering among children and their families living in The Gambia and Senegal. It was set up in 2011 by Katy and Chris Roberts, a father-and-daughter team from Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom.
Our Christian identity underpins everything we do – motivated by our faith, everyone at Child Aid Gambia is committed to following the teaching and example of Jesus Christ in His identification with those who are poor, vulnerable or forgotten. We want to make a positive, practical difference to disadvantaged children and young people in The Gambia as an expression of God’s unconditional love. Driven by the principles of humility, compassion and empathy, we work to bring real change to the lives of Gambian children, regardless of their own background or circumstances. No matter what a child may have been through, we will do everything we can to help them.
LIFE IN THE GAMBIA
Over 75% of the Gambian population live under the absolute poverty line of £1.66 a day, and most of the families we help are struggling to meet their basic human needs of food, water and sanitation. We work with children in The Gambia who are worst affected by poverty; those suffering from malnutrition or preventable disease, those who have suffered abuse or neglect, and children with profound physical or cognitive disabilities. Many children we work with have suffered from parasitic infections, water-borne diseases, seasonal malaria and are HIV positive. Many have been orphaned or abandoned, and many bear the weight of providing for their families alone.
In an environment where children as young as five are forced to find work, many young Gambians find themselves reaching adolescence with no formal education. Frequent deaths of caregivers mean that many children move location on average every six months – with no familiarity or routine to their schooling, they have little hope of achieving a high enough standard of education to overcome the stranglehold of poverty set on them from birth. From early puberty or younger, many Gambian girls are victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) and childhood marriage, as their families seek the traditional dowry gifts of money or livestock from a suitor to alleviate financial burdens.
Life opportunities that are often taken for granted in the Western world – such as education to the end of secondary school (18 years), university and apprenticeships – are incredibly difficult for poor children in The Gambia to obtain on their own. Many children are forced to work from a young age to support large families, caring for younger siblings or ailing parents and guardians, which distracts them from school and pulls them away from potential opportunities in adulthood. Lack of money is a huge barrier to education, particularly for young girls, for whom social expectations still dictate that they should leave school and marry.
Making a difference
Child Aid Gambia is committed to helping as many children as possible to escape the poverty trap. Our projects are broad and wide-reaching across The Gambia, with a vision to eliminating poverty amongst communities of children for good. We believe strongly in practical, lifelong support for the children we reach, helping them to help themselves to move upwards in life. Through specific projects for nutrition, water and sanitation, we can secure the physical health and security of Gambian children. Comprehensive and holistic sponsorships allow us to focus on the needs of individual children, giving them a helping hand through their education and beyond. Our feeding programmes meet the nutritional needs of children at home and school, and our advocacy for especially vulnerable children – such as girls at risk of exploitation and children with disabilities – is bringing positive change to children who need it most.
We believe that no child should go without having their basic needs met – but we also believe in every child’s right to a happy and healthy life. Childhood is a time for play, growth, learning and development, and poverty can interrupt and even destroy the vital stages of this process. Child Aid Gambia is working to reclaim the childhoods of impoverished children in The Gambia, giving them opportunities to develop safely, away from the threats of child labour, abuse, exploitation, preventable disease and hunger. More about our values can be found on our Mission Statement page.
We have already seen how our work has changed the lives of children in The Gambia. We have a clear vision for eliminating the effects of poverty for these children, through securing their future and empowering them to lift themselves up.
We can make a permanent difference to the lives of the poorest children living in The Gambia. There is so much we still want to do – but we need help in order to achieve this. Visit our donation page today to be a part of our work, and join the fight against poverty. If you would like us to give a talk on the work that we do in the Gambia to your Church, school or community group just let us know.