Featured Charity - Gambia Rising
For March we are thrilled to be donating a portion of our sales to Gambia Rising, a Charitable Trust that provides scholarships for students that want to stay in school in the Gambia.
The Gambia is one of the world's poorest countries, located in West Africa with few natural resources except its people. Most are subsistence farmers, although the cities and towns are growing. The country has an extensive public school system, however it is not free. Although there are no school fees at the elementary level, students must buy uniforms, buy their own books and supplies, and pay a variety of small fees. Therefore, the poorest cannot afford school even at the elementary level. As children advance, school fees and costs increase, until the drop-out level in senior secondary school (grades 10, 11, and 12) has eliminated the majority. A village girl who cannot continue in school after grade 9 may become part of the family’s work force, but the pressure can be great for her to be given in marriage. Nearly all marriages are arranged by parents and many 15 year old girls are taken as second (or third) wives, which is seen as a sign of prestige and power.
The cost to pay all expenses for an elementary school child for one year is only $150. Gambia Rising is primarily focused on up-country students from villages which are so far from a senior secondary school that they need room and board as well as school expenses, but that totals only $300 per year. After senior secondary school there are a variety of opportunities for those who can afford them: vocational school in the capital ($600 per year), or the university of ($2000).
Gambia Rising currently sponsors 320 students varying in age from 5 years old to 26. Two-thirds are girls (and 1/2 are girls who might otherwise be child brides), and most live far from the cities on the coast. Gambia Rising is run completely by volunteers, allowing 100% of donations to go directly to students. Every donation is directed to a specific student and donors can be told who they are sponsoring, with a photo and in some cases a video uploaded to YouTube.
With the majority of the Gambian families living on less than a dollar a day GambiaRising gives the next generation a chance for a different life through education.
Every purchase at Bead & Reel for March will give back to Gambia Rising, but if you want to give more please click here.