This school was our first project in The Gambia , and its discovery whilst on holiday was the trigger for Mark to start the charity.

The school the day we found it

The Roots Nursery School was founded on 8th April 2002, and is situated in the village of Juffureh, 30km from Banjul, the capital of Gambia. Juffureh was made famous by Alex Haley with his bestseller and mini series in the 1970’s called ‘Roots’. Alex traced his family history back to Juffureh and a slave named Kunta Kinte. The school’s headmaster, Lamin Conteh is the 9th generation nephew of Kunta Kinte. Therefore with this connection the school was appropriately named.

The school initially operated under a tarpaulin and provided education for 20 local children. It was later discovered by the ‘Mama Africa Association’ who provided the funding to build a school which was completed on 26 May 2006. Much good will and hard work went into building the school and getting the most out of the funds available. This greatly improved the standards for the teachers and pupils alike.

The school was still in need of further development and enhancements to support the teaching of the 100 + pupils attending.

Since 2006 we have provided teachers wages, school uniforms for pupils and teachers, healthcare, mosquito nets, educational materials ( mainly provided by Playtime under 5’s in hove ) , school photographs and a commitment to send the teachers to the teacher training college in Brikama.

In  2007 we built and paid for a toilet block to improve health standards and self esteem

in 2008 we repaired and repainted the 50m front wall to stop goats and other animals entering the school and eating their crop of vegetables

In 2009 the roof blew of the school on 14th July. We provided funds immediately for a brand new roof so the children could start term on time and miss none of their valuable schooling

in 2010 we completely refurbished the school and bentabah building.  This consisted of painting internally and externally and tiling the floors.  we also refurbished the blackboards in each classroom.

In 2011 a teacher exchange was arranged by The Leys School in Stevenage under the auspices of the British Council  allowing the headmaster and his assistant to visit the UK during the summer. This visit although exceptionally hard work proved extremely beneficial to all concerned and a return visit was planned for later in the year. However both the headmaster and assistant left the school after their visit to the UK.

Around this time we found it impossible to continue supporting the school and have sought new communities to support.