MArjaaNi @ The Gambia
In 2021, my life (once again) took an unexpected turn: although Samos is still my home base, the African country of The Gambia now also plays an important role in my life.
You can read on my blog how this all started.
There you can also read about my trip to The Gambia, early 2022.
Currently I am connected to The Gambia in three ways:
-through my Gambian friend (who is currently staying in Italy) and his family/relatives, who all live in The Gambia;
-through Sotokoi, my friend’s hometown that we support with donations (see below and the Facebook page);
-through my collaboration with the German travel organization Frosch Sportreisen which has resulted in a yoga trip to The Gambia (see blog).
In this place I want to bring The Gambia, and in particular the village of Sotokoi to the attention.
The Republic of The Gambia is a country in West Africa. It is the smallest country within mainland Africa and is surrounded by Senegal, except for its western coast on the Atlantic Ocean.
The Gambia is situated on both sides of the lower reaches of the Gambia River, the nation’s namesake, which flows through the centre of the Gambia and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. It has an area of 10,689 square kilometres with a population of about 2,2 million people. Banjul is the Gambian capital and the country’s largest metropolitan area. The largest cities are Serekunda and Brikama.
The Gambia’s economy is dominated by farming, fishing and especially tourism. In 2015, 50% of the population lived in poverty. In rural areas, poverty is even more widespread, at almost 70%.
The village Sotokoi is situated in Niamina East, one of the ten districts of the Central River Division of The Gambia.
The inhabitants are all farmers. They cultivate groundnut, rice, beans and corn.
The rain season is the period to cultivate. It goes from June until Octobre. The period is to short to sustain food for the whole year.
At the age of 13 to 14 the children have to walk 5 kilometres to get to school. They walk either to Kudang upper basic school or to Jarreng high school. Some families can not afford it to send their children to school.
Also the hospital is 5 kilometres away from the village. When people are sick, they are brought to the hospital on a donkey-cart (also women in labour).
“IaM Sotokoi / The Gambia Foundation”
When my boyfriend and I met in 2021, he told me about his dream: to support his homevillage.
And I knew right away that I would help him with that. Hadn’t I written in my diary as a 13-year-old girl that I wanted to do developmental work and didn’t I have Africa very clear in my mind for that?
Currently we are setting up a foundation: “IaM Sotokoi / The Gambia”.
Many things are needed in the village, but in the first instance we want to focus on:
-to allow children, whose parents cannot afford it, to go to school;
-the school in Sotokoi: the building and its immediate surroundings;
-bicycles for the children to go to the school in Kudang or Jarreng.
Donations are very welcome!
You can do so on
PayPal with the link Paypal.me/MarjanNiemeijer
Dutch bank account IBAN NL17 INGB 0000558046
BIC Bank INGBNL2A
Please mention “Support Sotokoi”. Thank you very much!
In addition to the above project, on a personal basis I would also like to do something for the diabetics in The Gambia as I am a diabetic myself. During my trip I was confronted with the fact that for most people in The Gambia insulin is not affordable. My friend’s 18-year-old niece has diabetes and can’t afford the insulin. At the moment I send her around 20 euros a month, so that she can buy the insulin for that month.
Of course, she is not the only one. I’m looking for ways to make insulin more available, but it’s not that easy.
If anyone has any ideas, I’d love to hear them. Thanks in advance!
For more information, suggestions or questions, contact me at email@example.com.