Since more than a decade, 2 schools in Aarschot (Belgium), Damiaan Instituut (DIA) and Sancta Maria Instituut (SMA) have been sending exchange students to The Gambia. This project has the inspiring name Africrack. In Belgium and The Gambia both Africrack and SawallaH are active in the same regions, resulting in an intense collaboration between both partners.

Africrack has 3 objectives with the student exchange:

1. Support of the SawallaH Nursery and Primary School

During their trip to The Gambia the students help with the maintenance and construction, finishing the SawallaH schools. They make school furniture (benches, tables, cupboardsā€¦) and school uniforms for SawallaH School students. This in close collaboration with the students and teachers of the Little Trees Skills Training Center. (LTSTC)

2. Support the Little Trees Skills Training Center, Bakoteh - The Gambia (LTSTC).

In this training center, founded by English Scouts, Gambian teenagers can follow technical or vocational training such as carpentry, car mechanics, welding, electricity, fashion, office support. LTSTC, like many other schools in The Gambia works without government support.

Before their departure to the Gambia, the Belgian students send small electric equipment and hand tools to their partner school in Bakoteh (LTSTC). Investment in these tools is possible thanks to fund raising and sponsorships. During their stay, the Belgian students train their Gambian colleagues. At the end of the exchange internship the tools and equipment are donated to LTSTC.

Additional Africrack invests in raw materials such as timber, metal, fabrics. The Gambian teenagers make their own furniture, ironwork or clothing. By selling these finished products LTSTC generates additional income.

3. Life experience for the participating BSO exchange students. (BSO = vocational education)

The exchange program focusses exclusively on students who follow vocational education in the 2 schools. During the internship, our Belgian students experience the real Africa. This unique opportunity where they see another lifestyle than they are used in their luxury and comfortable world. The poverty and inadequate infrastructure are an eye-opener and a cultural shock for most participants. The exchange gives them a more critical and tolerant attitude towards life.