What times we are living in. Hurricanes, earthquakes, famines, political turmoil. What are the chances that Gambian kids who are not in school will find someone to give them a chance this year?
And yet, what a tragedy if they do not get that chance. For boys, they will have no earning prospects. For girls, the same, except also that every study shows that educated girls are one of the best possible investments for development. They have fewer babies, earn more income, use it on their families, have healthier families, and contribute to community strength.
But unless they are drowning in the Mediterranean, Gambians are not on the world's radar these days.
I will not argue that their needs are greater than those of a Haitian family whose house just blew away.
But surely we can help both. Indeed, we must.
And the good news is that we have built an incredibly effective delivery system so that donations are used to give the most support to the most young Gambians. We have a team of Gambians who volunteer their time to manage our program in their communities. Peace Corps volunteers give us additional insight into local needs. One of our Board members pays all our overhead and administrative costs. 1/3 of our students' school uniforms are even sewn by a volunteer tailor.
We can provide all that an elementary school student needs to go back to (or start) school for just $25. For $55 we can get them back to junior high school. High school is more costsly but even the $200 that it costs on average is only a bit more than $15 per month. Monthly donating makes it possible to make such a big difference, because we know we can count on the income, so we can enroll kids now.