Welsh House Farm Community School, actively works with Action Aid to raise money for a project in the Niamina West district within The Gambia, where we sponsor a child called Ndey Ceesay.
The Niamina West district lies on the River Gambia, about 250km from the capital city Banjul, in the central region of The Gambia. The people in this part of the country are very poor. Action Aid are working on projects to improve food production, increase access to quality education for children, and to raise the status of women in the area.
Ndey was born in 2002, and she is one of a family of 4 children. Her family is Muslim and they speak Wollof. Ndey’s family home is a one roomed round hut with a thatched roof. Like most families they do the cooking outside. Ndey’s father is a farmer. Her mother is a housewife.
Families like Ndey’s are reliant on farming to provide food for an income. Most families struggle to produce enough food to last more than a few months of the year. This lack of food has many impacts on the community. Families grow maize, millet, sorghum and rice for food, and groundnuts as a source of income, with women taking responsibility for cultivating rice alongside caring for any animals the family own. Niamina West district lies along the banks of the River Gambia, making it an ideal place for rice growing, but access is difficult and inhibits production.
Families generally take water from open wells in most villages, but these are unprotected and therefore often polluted. Women are responsible for gathering water, using pails to draw water from 20-30 metres below the ground.
There are four primary schools in the area, and every child has the right to go to school. But school fees stop many families from being able to send their children. Entry to secondary school is even more expensive and prohibitive.
There is no health centre in the area, although people can travel to a neighbouring district to access a basic health centre. The nearest hospital is around 70km away. This means common and treatable illnesses can become killers, simply because people can’s get timely and affordable treatment.
Action Aid is working in Niamina West together with existing local organisations, to change the future for children like Ndey.