SawallaH Nursery and Lower Basic SchoolSinchu-GidomThe Gambia

SawallaH originated from an enthusiastic group of musicians from the Belgian region of Hageland who came together through a shared passion: their love and enthusiasm for West African percussion, particularly the djembe. It was inevitable that in April 2011, this interest in music and culture actually led them to Gambia.

During an outing, they ended up in Sinchu-Gidom, a small village, to visit the local school. There was no shortage of children, but only three walls remained of the school. As a result: no school, no teachers, and no education… In Sinchu-Gidom, there was no electricity or running water, despite being just a 20-minute drive from Gambia‚Äôs national airport. Even in terms of the most elementary medical facilities, the villagers lacked what we consider essential in the West.

Impressed by this situation, the people of SawallaH promised to help with the construction of a nursery school and to support the villagers in their struggle for a dignified existence. Here, the meaning of the name of the djembe group would fully come to fruition. SawallaH means “you’re welcome,” or “with pleasure”. And so, in 2011, a commitment began that continues to this day with dedication from each and every volunteer.

Building a school costs a lot of money. That’s why in the same year, 2011, our first African Food Day was organized to acquire the necessary resources. Through other initiatives, money was raised, and the construction of the school began.

Fast forward several years, and there is now a fully operational nursery school, SawallaH Nursery School, and a primary school, SawallaH Lower Basic School, complete with toilets and running water. To access water, a well was drilled with a pump powered by solar energy.