To escape the Dutch climate, my wife and I visited Gambia for the first time in December 2004.During our visit is wasn’t simply the sun and beautiful beaches that made an impression on us, specifically the enjoyment in life of the population despite of their impoverished conditions. However it is noteworthy that there is hardly any perspective for improvement in their quality of life.
On a particular day we met a friendly woman by the roadside selling bags from her shanty hut. We struck up a pleasant conversation with her and she informed us of het struggle to provide for her two school children on her scarce income of 13 to 20 euro per month in the high season.
Later we met her two children and she told us of her fears for their futures because of her lack of schooling funds. We then decided to contact the principle of their school and pay a visit to the SOS Children’s School in Kotu. We met the school principle and teacher and begun a positive dialog
After the initial introductions and formalities including our rest of assurance we decided to “adopt” the two children (brother and sister) Our sponsorship included school fees, uniforms, books and general educational materials. We communicate regularly and visit the SOS school every year to discuss their school reports and progress. The cost of our sponsorship has increased dramatically since 2004 but with the help from a few close friends we have been able to guarantee the sponsorship. Fortunately the children have progressed and have achieved great results.
During our discussions with the school principle it became apparent that in Gambian schools and sport clubs a great shortage of sport equipment, clothing, uniforms, shoes, tracksuits, footballs etc. existed. It is practically impossible financially for footballers young and old to provide their own sporting equipment and clothing.
We understand that it isn’t possible to provide every child in Gambia with sportswear, however under the motto “that every little bit helps” we decided to commit ourselves to provide football uniforms for the youth. In the beginning it wasn’t easy. Initially a lot of people didn’t react as enthusiastically as we would have liked, however slowly but surely everything began to take form. We have now progressed so far that we have attained sponsorships from companies such as Masita, Intersport en Aquri Sport. After initial sponsorships from the Woenselse Boys and the Vlijmense Boys football clubs more clubs have joined our cause. (see our sponsor page)
Through word of mouth the demand for used sportswear has increased dramatically in Gambia, and therefore we still have a great shortage. We accept all second-hand, misprinted, outdated or unwanted football uniforms. Also training equipment, tracksuits, vests and balls are more than welcome. We can guarantee that all donations will be used for the sole purpose and benefit of the youth of Gambia.
To ensure the continuity and accountability of our and your support we placed all our activities under the “Foundation Gambia Sport”, making it a lot easier for sport clubs and companies to devote their indispensable support .Recently we have applied for and received the “ANBI”status, meaning that companies that support us financially are legible for tax deductions.
In October 2012 we will be returning to the sun and our children in Gambia. Because of our current financial situation we are unable to finance a shipping container so as an emergency solution we will be taking as much sportswear as possible in the plane with us. This year’s first shipment was made possible through generous donations from friends and acquaintances, but the bottom of our financial barrel has been visible for some time.
Foundation Gambia Sport cannot achieve its goals without the generosity of donors like you. Any help your company might be able to offer would be most appreciated as funding, as always, is extremely limited.
Jan Vermeulen, president