December visit!

Five intrepid travellers visited The Gambia in early December 2013. Watch this space for a report by Margaret Brawn (aged 78)for her first impressions. But until then - a few photos! However, please study the first photo which shows the work on the school classrooms during 2013. There is a new roof and tiled floor in all the classes. The second photo is very (not special) with Chelsea (named after a sponsor of the family Chelsea McFarlane) Bojang! Other photos include the training programme for the Assistant Nurse (sponsored by Labcare UK).


Next trip 10 December 2013!

The next visit to The Gambia will leave the UK on 10 December 2013. The Charity's founder members Andy and Anne Butler will be travelling with 5 other supporters: Joyce Nicholls, who has been once before, David Tristram who has been 3 times before. New to The Gambia will be Margaret Brawn and Jill and Bryan Allbut. The group will be staying at The Kombo Beach Hotel and will visit Penyem on two occasions. More news of there adventure to follow!

Corby Phoenix Rotary Club

We are grateful for the continued support of Corby Phoenix Rotary Club. Recently Andy Butler updated the club on the progress in Penyem. The generous members donated another £250 to the Charity. This will be used to finance on going projects in the village.

Next visit confirmed for 10 December 2013!

The next visit to The Gambia is now booked for 10 December 2013. NTF Founder members Anne and Andrew Butler will be accompanied by other NTF supporters Jill and Bryan Allbut, David Tristram, Joyce Nicholls and Margaret Brawn. This could be the first of many Adult trips to go with the annual school trips from The Kingswood School, Corby, who visit in February each year. During the trip in December we will see the progress of the latest projects and visit sponsored families in Penyem. NTF supporters who sponsor children are advised that we will bedelighted to take Christmas cards to your children. STOP PRESS!!! I have just been told that Chiltern Primary School (another key supporting school in Northampton) has offered to donate 5 laptops for use in Penyem! Thanks!

Future visits.

The Kingswood School in Corby continue to forge links with Penyem Village. A trip from the school is now booked for 18 February 2014. This will be the 4th year that a group from the school has made the trip. Andrew Butler from NTF will be with them, It may be that he extends his trip by a week to allow time for planning long term projects in Penyem. At the moment, a major road is being constructed which passes through the heart of the village. Generally, the villagers like this as it will bring trade and communications to Penyem (including electricity - for those who can afford it). The downside is that the road splits the village in half. The groundwork has already disrupted the water supply to the north side. The Headteacher of the Upper School has expressed concern over the safety of his students as the school opens out directly onto this main road.

So clearly there is a need for major discussions on where NTF can help next, hence the reason for staying on after the school visit next February. However, it may be necessary to bring this visit forward. Therefore, a visit by NTF could happen on 3rd December 2013. You are welcome to come along! Please get in touch if you are interested in joining us!

2013 Projects now funded!

So we've made it! Today I have sent all the sponsor fees to Chief Kolley. I have also sent funds for phases 2 and 3 of the building renovations - new roof and tile floor for classes 2 and 3. I have already sent funds for phase 1 - new health centre roof. A fantastic effort from all of our supporters! Thank you.

2013 Projects

We are pleased to be able to confirm that we have agreed 3 main projects for the next year in Penyem. The first is to re-roof the village Health Centre. The funds for this have already been sent and work has started. The second is to re-roof one of the classroom blocks and the third is to tile the floor of this block. There are other ongoing projects with finance already in place - the training of a Health Centre Assistant (funded by Labcare) and the enhancement of the teachers salaries (Teacher Syndicate Group). We are still waiting for a decision on the funding of the new tennis court, but we are hopeful that this will be arranged soon.
Sponsors of children are paying their fees and we are confident that all the children who are sponsored will have continued support. In fact, we hope to be able to increase the number of sponsored children in the near future.
Thanks everyone!

Sponsor fees are now due for 2013/14.

We have over 90 sponsored children in Penyem. Fees for the next year are now due. Sponsors have been written to and we hope they will continue to sponsor their child. If you would like more information then please get in touch.

Spend a Penny Appeal Update.

We have now drawn to a close to our 'Spend a Penny' in Penyem Appeal. Two Northampton Primary Schools took part. Chiltern Primary School raised £230 which was a marvelous effort. Moulton Primary School took the task to another level! The children of the school raised a huge £830!
What a fantastic combined total of £1060! Basically this was all in loose change, change that many of us would put to one side on a shelf or at the bottom of our bags! I must thank the staff at The Halifax Bank, Kingsthorpe, Northampton, with their patience with me each time I turned up with carrier bags of 1p and 2p coins!
Well done and thanks to everyone!


For more information please contact:
Andrew and Anne Butler
01604 461746

Kingswood School visit - February 2013

We have just returned from a great visit to The Gambia! The highlight of the visit was the official opening of the new school toilet block!

On 11 February 2013, a group of students and teachers from The Kingswood School in Corby flew out to The Gambia on the now annual visit. Travelling with the group were Andrew Butler from NTF, former Kingswood Headteacher, David Tristram and Corby Phoenix Rotarians, Mel Jarvis and John Dixon. Unfortunately, the trip organiser and teacher, Faye Austin was unable to travel. We also had with us Anna Johnson – more about Anna later!

During the week we had excellent hot weather, a welcome break from the snow in the UK. Again we were welcomed by our great friends in The Gambia including our full time representative Dam Nyang. We had three day visits to Penyem, all of the days were packed full of challenging and exciting things for the students. As usual, all of the group travelling had sponsored a child in the year leading up to the visit, and so would spend a good amount of time with their sponsored child and families. On the first day we were treated to the emotional welcome of the children standing at the side of the road singing and chanting. By the time we reached the school everyone had children holding every finger on each hand! We were welcomed by Chief Kalilu Kolley. We were able to confirm the project sponsored by Labcare UK, the appointment and training of a Health Assistant for the Health Centre. A cheque for £1620 from Labcare was presented to Chief Kolley. The group toured the village projects. At this point the ward room in the Health Centre sponsored by Corby Phoenix Rotary was officially opened by Mel and John. In addition, a commemorative plaque in the Pharmacy was unveiled recognising the efforts of Moulton Primary School in their fundraising.

The group were treated to a display of drumming and dancing to celebrate our arrival.

The second day visit allowed the group to visit the lessons of both the Upper basic and lower schools. Everyone joined in with the lessons and some even taught the classes! The challenge was to teach the class of 83 reception children or to teach the Grade 4 class some new nursery rhymes – along with breaking up the odd fight!

On the final day visit the best part of the day was spent with the families of the sponsored children. This time we had asked that our students and teachers were treated as Penyem natives going about a normal day. So many were dressed in Gambian clothing, got water from the well, fed the animals, washed the children and prepared a meal. On the whole this was a great success. A day that will remain with everyone for the rest of their lives.

All that remained was the official opening of the toilets. The building had just been completed the day before. If fact some of the students were involved on the last bit of painting. The ribbon was cut and the building was open. The staff toilet and shower was named ‘The Webb Suite’ after the Webb family who raised nearly half of the funds for the building. It was the first time that many of the village children had seen flush toilets. Some were scared when they were shown how they worked!

To complete the day was the traditional football match, which somehow we managed to win 1-0!

Remember Anna? Anna remains in The Gambia! She was not a student at The Kingswood School, however she came with us and stayed on to gain experience in maternity work. She is working in a Maternity Hospital, alongside a local student. She is having a great time and experience – and is very busy!

STOP PRESS news! We are pleased to announce a small restructuring of our management in The Gambia.
Dam Nyang - previously our Operations Manager has been moved to a new position od Director of Logisitics for NTF (The Gambia).
Andrew Gomez has taken the position of Operations Manager for NTF (Penyem). Both of these work on a voluntary basis but with benefits.

Also we are pleased to announce that the sponsorship of the village doctor by Imerja UK Limited for 2013-2014 has been confirmed on 25 February 2013.

Funding for Health Centre Assistant secured!

We are delighted to be able to announce that this week we have secured funding for the training and employment of a Health Assistant in Penyem Village Health Centre. We have been talking with DJB Labcare Ltd. since just after Christmas. We have also been in touch on several occasions with Chief Kolley and Dan Nyang in The Gambia to ensure that we achieve the absolute best with the funding. Final details of the training etc. will be discussed when we visit Penyem in February, but the successful applicant will be a school leaver, probably who has benefitted from our student sponsorship programme.

The funding, initially over three years, is for £1650. Many thanks to DJB Labcare Ltd - and in particular Colin and Julia Bradnam.

In Memory of Eve Yeomans

In Memory of Eve Yeomans

A long time ago now we were contacted by friend, colleague and NTF Sponsor Anne Higgins. She told us that her mother had passed away. Eve Yeomans, loved all handicrafts such as sewing, knitting etc. At her funeral, it was decided to make a collection for NTF. Anne passed on a donation of £350. Rather than it being put into the general fund, we though hard of what would be the best use of the donation. At the time, the Dutch group who we work closely with on projects in Penyem, were in the process of building a Skills Centre in the village. This centre would be for sewing and similar crafts. So we decided to keep back the £350 until such a time that a use for it could be found in the Skills Centre.

We are delighted to announce that the donation will be used to pay the salary of a teacher in the centre. This is fantastic and a fitting way to celebrate the memory of Eve Yeomans.

Below is a copy of the email received from the Dutch.

Thank you to everyone concerned.

Dear Andy.

Great news for the skill centre and Penyem people you gave us .Thank you. My best idea to use this money wise and in the memory of the lady who donated the money is to use the money to pay the salary off the teacher .This will be the salary for a full time teacher who will teach sewing, knitting and crocheting to the older girls and ladies from Penyem and we hope surrounding villages. We will discuss it with the VDC ,Alkalo and our Co-worker Bakary Kujabi .We will announce the donation on opening day.Hope you will hand over the money to Alkalo Kolley when you arrive febr 11.Than he can pay the teacher salary every month for a whole year. After return I will send you pictures off course. With great gratitude we thank you for this donation to the Skill centre and Penyem people. And we hope you can agree how the money will be spend.

Until next time.

Kind regards, Corrie Jordaan.

‘Spend a Penny’ in Penyem Appeal

‘Spend a Penny’ in Penyem Appeal

Followers of our work in Penyem Village in The Gambia will know that last year we opened a new two classroom extension to the village school. This was built with materials funded by the charity. This year we have been fundraising towards the construction of a toilet building containing eight European style toilets, plus a staff toilet and shower. The work is almost complete, but we need a little extra to get there.

Those of you with older parents, grandparents or even great grandparents may have heard them say that they are going to ‘Spend a Penny’. This refers back to the days when public toilets had a lock that was operated by inserting a penny – hence ‘Spend a Penny!’
Therefore, we are launching from today the

‘Spend a Penny’ in Penyem Appeal.

We are asking all our supporters to get involved and get others involved whether it be at home, at school or at work. If you can help – it would be great. Maybe print this and display it on a bucket and leave it wherever you can, or simply collect loose change for yourself. Obviously, we are asking for pennies – but other coinage would be equally welcome!
This appeal needs a quick turnaround and all collections will need to be complete by 1 February 2013. On 11 February we will be visiting Penyem to see the completed building. With any money raised by the appeal we will want to supply important cleaning materials and equipment.
Please get in touch if you think you can help – remember – ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves!

Andrew and Anne Butler