Venner av LIFE
A small organization from Norway
Venner av LIFE (Friends of LIFE) is a small Norwegian organization based on voluntary work. Rex Nursery School in Fagikunda was established by the organization in 1986 and is still run by us. LIFE = Literate Instruction For Everyone. Our vision is to reduce illiteracy and give Gambian children a better start in life.
Our organization embraces around 700 children attending two different schools. At our nursery school, we have 300 pupils. We also support our pupils economically for the first four years of Primary School (all official schools in the Gambia claim school fees).
Rex Nursery School also offers courses in home economics to young girls.
The money reaches the children
The organization is run on a non-profit base, lead by a Norwegian board, and the work is done in our spare time. Thus, we have no administration expenses except for the cost of our web site; www.venneravlife.no and our news pamphlet, Fadderposten, which is distributed twice a year to our sponsors. Our income is based on sponsorships; presently a yearly payment of NOK 1000. This covers
school-attendance for one pupil as well as a school uniform and a free meal per day.
With regard to the pupils in Primary School, the sponsorships cover their school fee and 2 uniforms per year.
A gift – fresh water and electricity
We are very happy to receive various donations from private persons as well as from companies. This money is largely spent on maintenance of the school buildings and payment of water and electricity. We are very lucky to have both water and electricity, courtesy to a private person many years ago!
Health care / ward
We are very proud of our small ward which was established some years ago by means from Erna and Knut Eng’s Children Foundation. We employ a nurse in half time position to take care of the children’s wounds and minor accidents, medicating malaria, headaches etc. as well as teaching the children general hygiene. She will also consider if a sick child needs consultation in a hospital.
The Headmaster at our school will always examine the food before buying to secure good quality. The children appreciate the hot meal they receive every day, which sometimes is the only meal they have during the day. We are continuously striving to improve, and we have recently started a new project where the pupils in the morning may buy food from a few locals who are invited into our schoolyard for this purpose. The school also grows a great deal of its own vegetables.
In addition to education and food, we challenge the children in physical activities. Football and other ball games are always popular, and recently we equipped the school yard with swings, gliders and climbing facilities all made in colourful plastic.
Follow-up on the school
Every year board members travel to the Gambia, where they visit the school and check on the personnel, premises and pupils. The visit is made as a combination of holiday and follow-up trip, and of course the members pay their own travel expenses and lodging. If sponsors would like to join us and visit the school, they are most welcome to do so. «The next trip to the Gambia» will be announced on our website and in Fadderposten. The school may very well be visited by sponsors on their own. The school is situated in Fagikunda (apprx. 20 min. by taxi from Bakau). Most taxi drivers in Bakau know the school and are happy to take you there! If you need any information before your trip, don’t hesitate to contact us.