After a stay in Gambia in October 2010 I decided to found an organisation together with persons I had met in this country to support education and families in need.
In December 2010 for the first time this intention we appeared in public via our local paper, the „Obwaldener Zeitung“, and received a lot of positive feedback and support for our project.
At the end of March 2011 our organisation finally got its name. As we‘re mainly focussing on education and families, we called it „O4E&F“: Organisation for Education and Family.
On the 4th of April 2011 I could present our new organisation on the occasion of the General Meeting of Third-World-Supporters in Obwalden and got very encouraging acknowledgements and impulses, how our work could develop.
From 13th October to 5th November 2011 I visited, together with Mrs Elisabeth Schmid from Alpnach, who uses to support us very generously, several families and schools to make sure, that the donated money had being used appropriately. Due to our organisation many students can look forward into a better future.
left to right:
Ousman Touray (1. Administrator O4E&F), Ibrahim Ceesay (Headteacher in BOTTROP)
Mrs Schmid from Alpnach
Students School BOTTROP
From April to June 2012 my first liaison people in Gambia, Ousman Touray and Foday Jammeh, visited us in Sarnen. They got a clear impression on Swiss politics, on our work and life.
Again in October 2012 and 2013 I visited more schools and some families in Gambia. Many parents never went to school and numerous children and youngsters can‘t attend school or have to leave it ahead of time, because funds are missing.
After ample discussions in schools and families it arose, that the best and sustainable way to help the people of Gambia is to provide good education for children and adolescent, which qualifies them to learn a trade or to study.
Up to the year 2013 we supported 64 students in Secondary Schools, Colleges and at University. For this purpose 15,000.- Swiss Francs have been invested. Every week we receive new requests from pupils and students. Unfortunately we have to waitlist many of them, because there‘s not enough money at our disposal.
To put our organisation judicially on a firm footing we decided to found a registered association.Sc So on 27th of June 2014 in Sarnen the „Organisation for Education and Family Schweiz-Gambia“ came into existence, with an account for donations at our local bank, the „Obwaldener Kantonalbank“. Yet in the very same October we let register the association at the public authorities in Gambia and opened another account at the Trust Bank Ltd. As well in this month we organized our representation in Gambia. Our local cooperators and their fields of responsibility are: (left to right)
Teacher, Expert in
Isatou Touray uses to inform us in writing about the commitment of the money and he mails payment documents. Since end of November 2014, for instance, we support the Nursery School in Omorto, in the midst of the bush, by transfering a monthly contribution for the children‘s food. All helpers work unsalaried. Apart from inevitable expenses every donated Franc is being used for the people in Gambia. To support education and family life in Gambia will promote a positive development of the country in an enduring manner.
Our first general meeting took place in a public house on 24th of June, 2015.
The items of the agenda could be processed as intended:
- The report of the president has been approved.
- The reports of the treasurer and the controllers have been approved.
- Membership fee will remain at 50.-- Swiss francs (voluntary donations allways wellcome).
- Controller Mr Josef Gut has resigned. We thank him sincerely for his qualified performance. As a successor the general meeting choose Mr Hampi Lussi from Kägiswil.
- The representation in Gambia has been reassembled:
Isatou Touray (account, controlling, Head of the group)
Yahya Jallow (controlling College and University)
Ibrahim Ceesay (adviser, schools and organisation)
Ousman Ceesay (controlling Nursery-, Primary- and Secondary-schools)
The general meeting ended with an aperitif and snack whilst ideas could be exchanged.
Second General Meeting on the 8th of June 2016 in the guild house of the local carnival-guild „Lällizunft“
° Kathrin Stern retired as cashier.
° New cashier will be Heinz Rohrer, Büntenstrasse 18, CH-6060 Sarnen.
° The team in Gambia will be reorganized:
° Isatou Touray: control-account, signature-account, family
° Ousman Cesay: signature-account, payments, nursery-, primary- and
° Yahya Jallow: high schools, university, general organization
° Ibrahim Ceesay: monthly meetings, reports, counseling.
Specialities from Gambia, prepared by Balamusa from Gambia and Petra from Lungern (CH), were served after the general meeting.
Third General Meeting on the 19th of June 2017 in the guild house of the local carnival-guild „Lällizunft“
From the letter of invitation by the President:
In the third year of its existence we realize, that our organization is being more and more noticed of the people of Gambia. In many feedbacks we can read, that our work is being estimated and O4E&F is really needed in Gambia.
I was in Gambia during the presidential elections on 1st December 2016 and experienced the atmosphere of departure very closely. Symbols of change had to be set and the joy was great, when the oppositional Adama Barrow got more votes than the reigning president (dictator) of Gambia! After some pressure of the surrounding states the dictator left and the new president could start his work. Especially young people often talk and write about the „New Gambia“ and hope for better times. However we all know, that 22 years of dictatorship can’t be caught up within a year.
Hence our organization is more demanded than ever to support education, as there’s a lack of well educated people to carry on the new „free“ state. Currently we support some more than 100 students at secondary schools, colleges and universities and various families. About 70 students and 20 families are currently on the waiting-list.
From the Presidents report of activities:
In the last general meeting it had been proposed to support as well little shops or even to found them. Also here we started from scratch. Alieu Touray has been trained as metalworker and could found a little metal workshop with our support.
Also the newly founded tailor-studio is working successfully.
Most of the families of Gambia still are poor, as unemployment still is very high. Too many people hope to get support from us at the moment, regardless of education, health or family.
The team in Gambia has elaborated a desirable budget of 2’533’700 Dalasie. That is 55’136 Swiss Franks. It’s more or less 25’000 Franks more than we spent last year. Whether we can fulfill this wish depends on the financial receipts.
Management and team in Gambia have not changed.
After the General Meeting again Balamusa Ceesay from Gambia and Petra Halter from Switzerland served a Gambian menu which pleased everyone!
4th annual meeting on 22 May 2018 in the Galileohuis at the company Planteam in Kägiswil
On May 8, 2018, our great sponsor Elisabeth Schmid died in the cantonal hospital after a short serious illness.
At her own request Elisabeth accompanied me to Gambia for the first time in autumn 2011. Since she and her husband had lived in Nigeria for 7 years (her husband was working in Nigeria for a living), she wished to visit Africa again. Once became 4 times. In Gambia she always blossomed and always had a big heart when she saw how people had to suffer.
The cash report shows that a large part of the donations always came from Elisabeth.
She has also made a strong commitment to business: - Minibus for passenger transport
- Initial capital for electrician's workshop,
metal workshop and tailor's workshop
Without generous donations from Elisabeth many projects could not have been carried out.
We owe her a lot and she will always be in good memory.
On May 18, 2018 our organization was exempted from taxes by the tax authorities. This means that all donors can deduct their donation from tax.
5th annual meeting on 25 March 2019 in the guild room of the Lälli guild in Sarnen
From the President's annual report:
The team in Gambia is motivated and has worked very well in 2018.
We need new sponsors even if we want to maintain the previous achievements.
In order for us to do more in terms of PR, I need additional help (homepage, editing the Facebook page, creating flyers, etc.)
Every day I am confronted with problems from Gambia.
- food shortages
- Sickness assistance
- Students who have been waiting for 2 years are writing to me and hope to be accepted
- School Omorto wants more support for student food and water supply in the village and
- Nurseryschool Mbulum seeks support (Very poor school in the interior of the country)
We help where we can, but our help is unfortunately very limited.
The Gambia is on the move and urgently needs our support. Controlled, direct aid on the spot, especially in education, is a sustainable help that will help the people of Gambia to move forward.