it all began
It started with a one week holiday; 4 sisters going to Gambia.
After years of saying ' once we'll have a vacation together' we finally pulled it through. Egypt was our first choice, untill the Gambia-offer came our way. 'Wow...Africa !' , serious stuff ! We booked.
A while before, the youngest sister had moved. In her new environment, she made new friends. One of which owned a little school in Gambia.
'If you're going to Gambia, you might take as well the rent for the school wih you !'
Packed with exercise-books, schoolmaterial, ballpoints, hair-ribbons and even an electric guitar for the teacher, we left for Gambia, April 4th, 2005.
Pretty soon it was obvious, that it wasn't going be a normal vacation. Our husbands felt a little uneasy...4 women in the far away Africa. But help was on it's way. Kebba, a Banjul-airport policeman, came to pick us up and accompanied us during our stay. For 4 days, he showed us the culture, the land, the people and their habits. It was marvellous ! I just couldn't get enough. What a delightful and friendly people, the Gambians ! They are prepared to do anything you ask, with a big smile. Very respectful to tourists. We felt at home immediatly. Like visiting relatives. Imagine, people we'd never seen before !
But what poverty ! A awful lot of work to be done. I'll never forget the slums. Little children in their tshirts, barefoot in the hot sand. Snot running down their noses. All of them asking for ballpoints. (At home, in Europe, children ask for sweets. Unknown to this kids). They all seemed to be aware of the importance of learning to read and write. For their future.
Many kids were begging at the tourist attractions !
Nevertheless the country made a fantastic impression. On the day of our departure, I told my sisters: 'a part of me stays in this country and I'm taking a part of Gambia back home with me !'. I didn't know right then, that was exactly wat was going to happen.
I filled the rest of 2005, collecting goods for the Sanchabba-foundation. We had met the founder of the foundation, at Kebba's place. The two men had been friends for more than ten years. They once met in Kosovo.
Early 2006 I started to get donations, to send children in Gambia to school. I was in business ! I had to found my own organisation.
May 12th 2006, my dream came true. A foundation of my own, to help and protect the children of Gambia ! I named it after the second son of Kebba, the first kid that we were able to send to school, due to the donation by two kids (6 and 8 years old), who had been saving money, collecting Xmas-trees:
The start was there !
November 2006, we sent 20 children to school. We have had an action every month, from concerts to art-markets and workshops. We met great people; we have 15 to 20 enthusiastic volunteers; we have had artists and Djembee-players and the help and support of many Gambians, living in Holland. Thanks to all !
We feel, like we're doing this for a long time now ! Things are going faster and faster. Like a snowball going downhill.
Two years after my first visit, I'm going back. In january 2007.
To legalise the Sharanie Foundation in Gambia. And to do research, for projects we are going to support.
I'd very much like to build a little school there !
We have been given a peace of land.
Now for the money !
It has to succeed !
And it will !!
Thanks to the love and money of so many people that really do care !!
Chairwoman & founder,