With international assistance, including that from the Port Of Harlem Gambian Education Partnership (POHGEP), the Balal Public Library, Ayuba Suleiman Diallo Education Center reopened in February and the Baobab Youth Development Association Phillis Wheatley Library reopened in June.
The Balal library (In Fula, Bala, means help) closed while getting renovation assistance from the European Union (EU) Youth Empowerment Project. They used the window frames and fans POHGEP provided to create a better space by installing the glass in the frames and installing the fans. Through an emergency fund to fight COVID19, the U.S. government is providing the library internet service.
Alhassan Bah, cofounder of the 165+ book library says the EU’s mission was to “improve the center so the center can train more young people.” With a better center, the EU hope less Gambians, will use the illegal “backway” to reach Europe.
The 528+ book Phillis Wheatley library closed as the Baobab Youth Development Association (BYDA) renovated their new office and library space. The current library includes one book stand of books with a second stand on its way.
It will also include an internet access service and basic health services such as blood pressure and temperature readings. “The presence of the library has changed students behavior towards their education. They are now exposed to a good reading culture which will ultimately develop them personally,” commented Jabel Ceesay, BYDA Secretary.