Some background information on The Gambia and the SHHG: www.stichtinghumanitairehulpgambia.be

The moment you step of the plane at Yundum International Airport in Banjul, you realise that you are in one of the poorest countries in Africa. The porters – recognizable by their shabby and often torn ‘uniform’ – jostle to grab your attention. Your custom means that he is able to feed his family that day. The Gambia has no important mineral or other natural resources. On the West Coast 50 km of sandy beaches and the deep blue Atlantic attract tourists from November to April (the dry cooler season – average temperature of 26° C), but for the 2008/2009 season figures were down by 15 %. Inland and in Eastern Gambia there is widespread poverty and families survive from day to day. Most Gambians live in huts without running water, sanitation or electricity (no fridges…). The average wage is € 50 per month but 20 % of the population is unable to provide adequately for their daily needs. The present economic situation means there is less work; groundnut crop prices on the international market are down. Experts of the World Health Organisation have predicted that due to the worldwide economic crisis one hundred million more people will go hungry: this means that 1 in 6 people on this earth have not enough food.

Ten years ago only about 20 % of the Gambian children went to school; this situation has improved, but still about a fifth of the children do not attend school regularly because of a lack of money (for school fees and the mandatory uniform) and/or because of distance (too far to walk). For some years we have been sponsoring a number of school children through the Dutch Stichting Humanitaire Hulp Gambia - set up 15 years ago. The global strategy of theFoundation is development in The Gambia in the broadest sense. Through developing projects on an educational (schools in Bakadaji and Nafugan), medical (Health Clinic in Somita and Bakadaji) and rural level (women’s vegetable gardens in Kanube and Nafugan) we aim to improve the standard of life in The Gambia. In The Gambia the Foundation is represented by a local, officially recognised, NGO: Foundation Humanitarian Aid Gambia.

Following our second trip to the projects of the Foundation, the need arose to set up a Belgian branch of the organisation. And so in 2008 the SHHG-Belgium was born. We also decided to sponsor our own project near one of the schools: a women’s vegetable garden in Nafugan.About 50 women will work in the garden. The initial plot measures 50 m x 50 m, but we aim to expand it to 500 m x 500 m. Experts from the Ministry of Agriculture in Basse provide  technical support. At first the women will cultivate vegetables to feed their families, but as the project grows they intend to sell part of the harvest in order to provide for other needs of their children. First and foremost a fence has to be erected – to deter cows, sheep and goats helping themselves – followed by digging water wells. Then tools and seeds need to be bought. This costs money; money the women of Nafugan do not have, but that we are helping to sponsor.

Please know that all our work and input is totally voluntary: our trips to The Gambia, our stay there, the organisation here: we pay for everything ourselves. Therefore all the funds raised go entirely to the project.

We hope that you will still help us help the women of Nafugan. You can do this through a one-off donation, or by giving your bank a standing order: for example € 2 per month (the cost of a cup of coffee) or € 3 per month (the cost of a cappuccino). Of course, you can give more if you wish. Any donation, whatever the size, makes a difference. We trust that you can spare a cup of coffee per month, even in these times of crisis.

SHHG (Stichting Humanitaire Hulp Gambia)

Axa bank: 751-2037600-58

BIC: AXABBE22

IBAN: BE95751203760058

Thank you again from the SHHG team.