Child Aid Gambia

CHILD SPONSORSHIP
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Sponsor a child and change a life forever

Every child deserves an education, a future, and a happy, healthy childhood. Sponsorship is the most direct and effective way that you can change the life of a child living in The Gambia – for just £15 a month. A sponsorship with Child Aid Gambia includes everything that a child needs to move through school up to the age of eighteen, ensuring that they are healthy, happy and protected.

TO SPONSOR A CHILD JUST COMPLETE THE FORM BELOW

The consequences of missing school

Many Gambian children have lost months or even years of education, through family circumstances that have prevented them from attending classes. Some children have suffered neglect or abuse, some have been held back through long-term illness, and others have faced no choice but to work alongside adults in order to survive. Children with disabilities or particular needs suffer from a lack of specialist input, leaving them unable to bridge the gap between themselves and their peers.

Missing school can have dire consequences for a child. Not only do they lose vital skills of reading, writing, mathematics and comprehension, but they also miss out on developing interpersonal skills through playing and socialising with other children. Children who miss school can become isolated, and without the skills to find employment or study in adulthood, they continue to be trapped in a cycle of poverty. For young girls, a lack of education means early marriage and pregnancy.

For Gambian children who cannot easily access education, a sponsorship could mean the difference between a brighter future and a lifetime of poverty.

Meeting the child’s every need

Children of all ages have a wide range of needs to be met – needs that go beyond the basic provision of essential primary and secondary education. For £15 a month, we can tailor a sponsorship to meet the specific needs of each sponsored child, allowing them to attend school without needing to worry about finding food, paying for books and uniform, or travelling to and from their chosen school.

Our sponsorship program is comprehensive and wide-reaching. The children on our sponsorship program are some of the poorest and most disadvantaged in The Gambia. We form personal connections with their families, allowing us to work in the community to address the children’s most urgent needs as they arise. When children move home due to conflict, bereavement or other changes in circumstance, we work to locate them as soon as possible to ensure they stay in school. Working alongside teachers, caregivers and relatives, we provide support for these children to get back to where they should be: gaining the skills and qualifications they need to grow and achieve, and enjoying a safe and fulfilling childhood.

More than just education

For many Gambian children, a school sponsorship that pays only for tuition, uniforms and a meal may not be enough. Our sponsorship price reflects the true need of our sponsor children, calculated from understanding their wider circumstances and the many obstacles that may be getting in the way of their education. Through our Gambian case workers, we keep track of every single child on our sponsorship list, to ensure we are made aware of changes in their home or any emergency situations. We keep details of our sponsor children’s school reports and records to track their academic progress, and support a child’s transition if they are moving to a new school.

A typical Gambian child sponsorship covers:

  • Tuition fees, and extra tuition for children who have missed periods of school
  • Books and stationary for the child to use in class
  • Uniforms and shoes, replaced each year
  • A hot meal eaten at school

Sponsorships through Child Aid Gambia cover all of these, but we aim to be as comprehensive as possible in providing long-term support to the poorest Gambian children and their families. Therefore, in addition to the above list, Child Aid Gambia sponsorships also pledge to provide:

  • Support to the families of sponsored children suffering financial hardship, such as provisions of food packages, medicine and clothes
  • Funding for emergency medical care (such as necessary medicine, treatments or transport to and from hospital)
  • Sanitary products for girls in secondary school, so they can remain at school while on their period
  • Pathways to further education or employment for secondary leavers

University and higher education

In January 2019, we introduced our Health Professional scholarship programme by awarding a Nursing (BSN) scholarship to Aja Sawaneh from Kanifing, at the American International University of West Africa. Aja was accepted for her degree in December 2018, but like many Gambian students she was unable to accept the place because of financial circumstances. She had heard about our child education sponsorship schemes, and applied for our Further Education scholarship for funding for the 3-year course to help her to continue her studies.

While university and further training beyond secondary education have higher costs than a traditional sponsorship, the reward for a young person who has grown up in poverty can be priceless. For Aja, her university course will allow her to gain a full-time job as a nurse upon graduation, to help other people in times of illness and emergency. We are always looking for donors who may be willing to offer a scholarship to a student in The Gambia, particularly to study professions such as nursing, teaching, law or medicine in order to give back to their community. If you believe that you could commit to sponsoring a young person through higher education, please contact us.

Emergency Funding

A vital part of our sponsorship system is providing for children and their families in times of emergency. For vulnerable children in The Gambia, life is incredibly unpredictable – illness, bereavements and changes of home situation can occur at any time, which is why we ensure that a portion of each child’s sponsorship funding is kept aside for emergencies. When a sponsored child or their family experiences an emergency, this is reported to their case worker who works alongside us to organise the support needed to meet the family’s needs.

Children on our sponsorship programme have been able to receive emergency funding for:

  • Accommodation following sudden homelessness, caused by bereavements, escaping abuse or trafficking, or their current living situation no longer being suitable
  • Treatment for serious illness or diagnosis of a long-term health condition that requires medication or therapy the family cannot afford
  • Safe evacuation from a community or location that is under immediate threat from natural disasters or political unrest

Being able to take action for our sponsored children when they need emergency help is extremely important to us. In severe cases, our emergency intervention could mean the difference between life and death – and so we will always step in if we feel a child’s safety is at risk. Our Gambian case workers are trained specifically to provide us with regular updates if a child’s circumstances change.

EDUCATION FOR ALL

For a Gambian child, a sponsorship can begin to lift the burdens and suffering that cloud their lives. They can attend school with everything they need to learn, the correct uniforms, and have a healthy meal at school each day – but they can also be assured that someone is caring for them if there is an emergency in their family. Parents and guardians no longer have to sacrifice their own health to provide for their children, and are well supported if they or their children need food, medicine or clothing. Sponsorships provide children with the safety and confidence they need to flourish, gaining the skills and qualifications they need to lay foundations for their future.

For £15 a month – the same price as a Netflix subscription – you could change a Gambian child’s life for good. There are still so many children on our waiting list, many in desperate need of sponsors, and we don’t want to keep them waiting a moment longer. Gambian children deserve the best chance they can get to build a brighter future, and lift themselves from the grips of poverty. Click the donate button now to begin your journey to sponsoring a child in The Gambia.

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