port of harlem magazine
port of harlem gambian education partnership
Gambian Fundraisers a Major Success
Aug 26 – Sep 08, 2021
byda library

For the second fundraiser in a row, you have allowed us to exceed our fundraising goals. Before our August 15, 2021 deadline, we raised $195 more than the $1,850 needed.  Abaraka, or thank you in Mandinka, the most widely-spoken language in The Gambia.

We will use the funds to implement several projects at full speed with The Baobab Youth Development Association (BYDA), based in Nema Kunku, The Gambia.  The BYDA-Phyllis Wheatly Library, for instance, has been reopened for three months with about 30 monthly users and reading for pleasure is becoming less of a novelty in the economically challenged suburb of Banjul, the capital city. Currently in transit via boat to the library are 498 additional books and another book stand. The new books represent a 358 percent increase over the 139 books currently in circulation. We also sent text and general reading books to Latrikunda Lower and Basic School (6-12) where many of the students in Nema Kunku attend.

Artist Sheban Mbye is creating a new mural inside and outside the library. He developed interest in the arts while in the lower grades where his arts teacher gave him lots of encouragement. This will be the first time BYDA and the Port Of Harlem Gambian Education Partnership (POHGEP) has commissioned an artist in The Gambia.

BYDA and POHGEP will also break new ground  with the scholarship program. For the first time in the program’s 19-year history, the BYDA will create and send thank you videos from the students directly to the donors. Historically, the Gambians sent thank you notes via traditional mail and later had POHGEP send them electronically to donors. We also added one additional student to the program, for a total of 19 students.

BYDA also raises funds by other means. It ordered WI-FI service for the library, which will allow them to join the resale internet access business which is expanding in The Gambia. 

POHGEP still accepts gently used summer clothing and other easily shippable goods that we place in barrels to send to BYDA for resale. They use the funds to bankroll their other projects including the road they recently built. The road is part of a larger project to make it easier for women giving birth and others to get to the hospital.

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