Before, our 50 – 55 girls shared several dormitories,
which had been serving since 2012. There was a big one with more than 30 beds, and two smaller ones. All are equipped with fans to make sleeping easier, but without chairs or tables, or any kind of privacy.
When SARS Cov-2-virus arrived in Gambia, in March 2020,
it caused state of emergency and the shutdown of public life. The Ministry of Health demanded the shelter’s dormitories to be emptied by end of May, 2020, and to keep prepared as isolation rooms. But where would our girls live, then?
Therefore, from one day to the other, we started the construction of a new house.
Thus we brought forward a project planned for autumn, 2020, anyway. The difference: in autumn, we would have had enough fundings through the clinic’s profits. We would need courageous support from many people to start the construction regardless of all unsafe and crazy circumstances.
Months of hard work followed,
hard in terms of fundraising, project planning, workmanship, dealing with shutsown, state of emergency, raining season. We saw food and soap shortage. We struggled to find meanings to set up a higher hygiene concept. We were in constant fear over the health of our girls.
These are pictures of the same wall at different times:
These are pictures of the new toilet-block:
Mid of July, 2020,
at the same time than the terrifying rise in Covid-19-infections, our new girls’ house was finished unless the exterior painting. Nevertheless, the first girls moved in.
At the mid of October, 2020
we took chance of some couple of rainless days and did the final exteriour painting. As schools were ready to re-open and the state of emergency lifted, all girls moved and settled in. They are taking advantage of 9 rooms for themselves, 1 room for the nanny, and 1 big room for common activities, like doing homework or watching TV together.
It still feels like kind of miracle that the girls’ new house is there now.
A dream came true.
This success was only possible through perfect, trusting teamwork: Our German partners rallyed for donations as much as they could, while in The Gambia, our Foundation performed professional project management. We relied on experienced workmen and a supportive community which never let us down. Under great pressure, our teamwork passed it’s fire test.