In our first year, 2008-2009, 30 students at the upper basic and senior secondary schools in Bansang benefited from sponsorship through BEA. Since then each year there has been an increase in numbers of students sponsored. In the last year 69 students were sponsored, after being identified by their schools and communities as suffering financial hardship and showing promise in their schoolwork. New students applied in writing to the appeal and produced evidence of their circumstances and performance in school. Students from the previous year who have performed well in exams automatically continue with our sponsorship. However due to the great need for support, if students
handing out materials at Sololo school
perform poorly without extenuating circumstances their scholarship is given to someone else to benefit. The students receive one of three levels of sponsorship from basic school and exam fees being paid, to full sponsorship providing lunch each day at school. This is decided on by staff in the schools who are aware of individual circumstances. Ismaila Ceesay, the Principal of Bansang Senior Secondary School oversees these arrangements. A further 100 children at lower basic level have been identified by their schools and communities and provided with school materials.
Some of our Sponsored Students
Amadou Baldeh has been sponsored since 2008 by the Thomas Family. He is aged 21 and lives with his parents. They are seasonal farmers and struggle to earn money from the food they grow, after harvesting what they need to survive on each year. Due to these financial difficulties he did not start school at the normal age of 7. Despite this circumstance he continues to excel in school and his family concerns have eased significantly with sponsorship. BSSS students with donated materials
Momadou H Jallow was the deputy head boy at BSSS and completed his grade 12 exams in 2011. He studied the science stream at school and has continued onto further studies in architecture at the Gambia Technical Training Institute. BEA has continued to sponsor him.
Mariama Marena is just starting grade 12 at BSSS. She has been sponsored since her mother died in 2010 leaving her an orphan at the age of 14. It is very difficult for girls in her situation to complete an education, as extended family will think about finding someone to marry at an early age. She is now being sponsored by Mr and Mrs Liversedge which has given her hope to have some say in her future.
Alagie Fatty and Payaly Faal are also just starting grade 11, although they are 19 and 21 years of age respectively. This is because of problems affording the costs of attending school and finding support. Alagie lives with his dad, his mother died some years ago and his dad is unable to do much physical work now due to his age. Payaly is an only child and an orphan and is dependent on his relatives to help him through school. Both have achieved very good results in their grade 9 national exams last year and have completed their 1st year at the senior secondary school. They both admit it would not be possible for them to still be in school without support and are grateful for sponsorship provided through BEA.