Northampton Trustee Fund
Anne and Andy Butler
Monday, 15 October 2012 | Posted by AJB1 at 11:44
Monday, 25 June 2012 | Posted by AJB1 at 11:28
For details of all our projects please read the blogs below. To get in touch -
Monday, 21 May 2012 | Posted by AJB1 at 06:18
This is just a quick update after my visit to Penyem last week. Firstly, please accept my thanks on behalf of the sponsored children. We are pleased to say that all the current sponsored children have had their sponsorship renewed for the next 12 months. This is a hugely successful project, and now we have over 80 children sponsored. Thank you so much!
The visit went really well despite temperatures of 35C!!! All the school fees were paid into the bank account. Taking the money myself saves so much in exchange rates and transfer fees. However, I had to negotiate a tricky situation at UK customs!
Posted by AJB1 at 06:14
Fees for the sponsored children are now being collected! Andy will be going back to The Gambia to take the fees and pay them directly into our bank account in Brikama, He will also be launching the teacher sponsorship scheme. So far we have secured enough sponsorship to pay the teachers in the school a 25% pay increase. I bet we would all like that! However, we have to remember that the village school teachers are very poorly paid - and 25% is enough to keep them at the school. We are aiming to build this sponsorship initiative to possibly employ an additional teacher and so, reduce class sizes - so more sponsors please!
The trip in May will not be a holiday - I have meetings planned with the Minister of Education and the Gambia Child Fund Officer Mrs Horija Dibba. I also plan to meet builders etc. at the school to discuss further developments.
Watch this space!
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 | Posted by AJB1 at 11:15
We are now in the process of collecting school fees for the school year 2012-12. Please look out for the letter in the post! New sponsors are always welcome!
We have always been conscious that the increased number of children puts a strain on accommodation within the school and teaching staff. For example the reception class in the school can have 75 children present at one time.
During my last visit, I met Mrs Horija Dibba who is Infant and Child Coordinator for Child Fund, The Gambia. She congratulated us on the progress we had made in the school, particularly with the construction of the new classroom block and provision of equipment.
However, she outlined a problem. The school was losing staff to other schools that were able to pay a higher salary. A teacher earns about £30-£35 a month. This, compared with the price of rice is a good comparison. A sack of rice to feed an average family for 3 weeks costs £20! Therefore even the smallest supplement to a teacher’s salary can make a huge difference.
In a further meeting with Chief Kolley, Head teacher at the school, we discussed what we could do to help. To cut a long meeting short(!) what it means is that if he could pay each of his seven teachers £10 a month each more, it would solve the staffing problems.
The annual cost for additional teacher’s salaries would therefore be £800-£1000 a year. NTF would like to try to help with this; however we do not have that amount of spare money each year.
In an ideal world we would be seeking an individual sponsor to cover the annual cost – muck like Imerja Ltd. does with the doctor. However, an alternative would be to build a ‘Syndicate’ of people who contribute to a ‘Teacher Fund’ to sponsor the teachers – it would be possible for sponsors to sponsor a teacher, just like with the child sponsorship scheme. Sponsors could pay as much as they like by Direct Debit or annually – the more sponsors we have – the costs could become less each. NTF is committed to this scheme, and for the first year would meet any possible shortfall until enough sponsors could be co –opted into the ‘Syndicate’.
Does this interest you? Perhaps you would like to contribute? Perhaps you could persuade people at work to get involved? Just think – a group of five people each contributing £2 a month each would fund one teacher. Then all we need to do is find another six groups of five – PROBLEM SOLVED!
Have a think and get back to us!
Andy and Anne
Friday, 16 March 2012 | Posted by AJB1 at 12:35
On the first day visit we were overwhelmed by the fantastic welcome given to us by the village, particularly from the children. The group approached the village on the traditional way – on foot – and walked along the track to the village which was lined by the school children wearing homemade hats, waving flags and chanting a welcome!
The villagers were presented with gifts of mainly stationary for the village school , but also medical and sports equipment was given to the people. The party was then treated to a village tour including a visit to the now established Health Centre, Bee Hives and water pump area. We also had our first glimpse of the now completed extension to the school which was started last April when we laid the foundation stone. It was completed a week before this visit. The group was then treated to lunch and a display of cultural drumming and dancing, after which, emotionally drained, the group departed in their open top Landrovers.
On the second visit all the group visited the homes of the children they sponsor. This is truly a magical time, and despite having nothing themselves most of the facilities gave gifts of thanks to their visitor. One of the party was even presented with some land!
However, the main reason for the visit was to officially open the new school extension, which consists of 2 classrooms and an office for the Headteacher.
After a number of speeches (Gambians love speeches!) the building was named ‘The Harry Brown Building’. (Harry is our Grandson born exactly one year previously). Furthermore, one of the classrooms was called ‘The Val Sabin Room’ – Val sponsors 25 children, and the other room was called ‘The Andrew Butler Dream Corner’. What a day – particularly as we won the football match that followed 2-0!
The Child Sponsorship Scheme is a great success. During this visit we learnt more about where the sponsor money goes. Part of it is for school fees, but the remainder is split between health care, social care, uniform, shoes, breakfast and lunch at school and stationary. Some of the older students have been asked to start putting something back in the programme. Musa Bah and Jainaba Bah have become our ‘Penyem Correspondents’. They will start to report on day to day life in the village.
Two years ago we started The Penyem Football Academy. We would like to move this project forward by funding a Sports Coach from the UK to work in the village for a two to three week period to develop sport in general. This will involve working with the children, but possibly more importantly developing the skills of the Sports Committee in Penyem. If anyone is interested in this opportunity – please get in touch.
Child Sponsorship Fees for 2012/13 are now being collected and hopefully this will be completed by the end of March. We now have two students who have graduated from the programme. One has become a plumber, the other has become a soldier. It does beg the question – would this have been possible without your support? Again we thank all of our supporters who contribute in so many ways. Allow me to list some of the things we have achieved together since 2004. Ambulance, doctor, new medical centre, apiary, fully stocked pharmacy, 77 children sponsored, school extension, school resources, TV room, roof at Busura Primary School, self sufficiency in rice, fresh water system and much more!!!!
Monday, 27 February 2012 | Posted by AJB1 at 11:18
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