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Dutch’s FUN Foundation Constructs School in Aljamdu

The Football Unlimited Netherlands (FUN Foundation) is currently constructing a school project in Aljamdu in the North Bank Region to address elementary educational challenges in the community. 

The FUN Foundation was established in August 2013 by Chairman Ron Brouwer. It comprises volunteers of Dutch citizens. 

The secretary of the Foundation, Irene De Jong, 54, also a sports teacher and coordinator shared the Foundation’s mission with The Chronicle, among which is to improve the living conditions of children in the Gambian village of Aljamdu in the fields of education, healthcare and sports.

      Irene De Jong with women of Aljamdu

“We want to achieve this by building a primary school in the village itself. In addition, we have regularly given football training on site for a number of years and we have already brought many football materials and clothing as well. We want to give the youth in one of the poorest regions in The Gambia a future and fun,” she tells The Chronicle. 

De Jong said the Foundation has acted on the community’s demand as part of the feedback they received after delivering their previous assistance in football training. 

“…the people themselves told us their main wish was that there would be built a basic school for the children in Aljamdu itself. Until now the children have to walk along the highway to Sittanunku to go to school, but for a lot of children that is too far in the heat of the day,” she said.

“Since 2,5 -3 years the volunteers of the FUN Foundation in the Netherlands are very busy to try to find enough funding to realise this dream for the people in Aljamdu.”

      Irene De Jong

The school under construction consists of at least two school buildings, each with 3 classrooms, a toilet building, a water pump with solar panels for the energy supply of the school, a kitchen/ canteen and a large fence around the school complex. The school is meant for 180 children. 

She recalled that the project was conceptualized during the term of his predecessor, Via Maarten and the chairman Ron visited Aljamdu, when Maarten was supporting a native, Omar Kanteh. 

“Because there is a lot of poverty among the people in Aljamdu, Ron and Maarten realized that not only Omar needed support, but the entire community of Aljamdu.”

     school project under construction in Aljamdu by Dutch FUN

The Fun Foundation started the construction in September 2019 of the first school building in Aljamdu. De Jong expected the commencement of borehole construction for a water pump near the school this week. 

Project Finances  

According to De Jong, the total cost of the entire project is around 75,000 euros. However, she called on all Gambians to support the crusade financially for the construction of the school.

“We need financial support from both the Dutch and Gambians to complete the project!”

Targets 

“The Children are the direct beneficiaries – boys, girls and lots of disable children as well. The project would also help women to realize that the burden of giving a child school lunch would be less. Therefore, it’s going to help the women to be able to educate their children, everyone will benefit from the project, it will change their lives for the better,” she said. 

Project Goals

She explains that the project’s goal is to realise the completion of the school project in Aljamdu.  

“In order to realize this, the FUN Foundation will have to collect more than 45,000 euros in the coming period with the help of donations, sponsorships and gifts. 

“We are very happy that for a few weeks the big organisation Wilde Ganzen (Wild Goose) wants to support our project in Aljamdu. Wilde Ganzen supports tacklers all over the world who break through poverty from the bottom up with small, smart projects,” De Jong tells The Chronicle. 

Sustainability 

She assured that the project will be very sustainable because the government would take over its upkeep and staffing once the project is completed and handed over to them.

“Of course, the FUN Foundation will also keep up their football activities in Aljamdu.”

Musa Saidy, Director of Action for Youth Foundation (AYA), a partner organization of FUN Foundation described the project ‘heart-warming’ for the community.  

“FUN Foundation has always been at the forefront when it comes to developing sports (football) and education in Aljamdu. Over the years they donated many football materials to the village football teams and sponsored many local league games,” Musa tells The Chronicle.  

He said the impact of the construction of Lower Basic School through the partnership between his organization and FUN Foundation will be very positive.

“Considering the fact that this is the first time Aljamdu has a Lower Basic School, prior to this, children were walking for more than 3 kilometres to the nearby village to access education. Because of the long distance, many children have decided to stay home without being registered in school,” he said.

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