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​​​​​​​​​​​MAG Reading Room
Helping Establish Reading Programs in Small Communities, One Small Community at a Time.

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Will you help us get books into the hands of every child in Julakunda? 

Helping Sulayman

Sulayman Gibba is a Gambian residing in Washington DC where he works for Center for Global Development as an IT Support Specialist. On December 27th 2014, he started a three-week vacation in his home country, The Gambia. He visited his village, Julakunda where he was born. It is about 90 miles from the Capital City Banjul and has a population of approximately 3000 people. During his visit, he reconnected with family and childhood friends.

Sulayman approached a few kids to learn more about school and their dreams only to learn that most of them couldn't construct simple sentences or read. He began wondering how he could help. The thought of sponsoring a couple of kids sounded great for a moment, until the idea of establishing a reading room in the village came to mind. 

Sulayman approached one of his friends who still lives in the village and shared the idea of establishing a reading room. Their conversation went like this. 

Sulayman: Hey Alagie, he called. Look at these kids, they can't read or construct simple sentences. I feel like there is something we can all do to help. If I send books from the US, will you be able to manage a reading room program right here in Julakunda? Will you partner with me to help the children learn?

Alagie: Sulayman, that's a great idea and I know it will be of great help to the kids. If you send books I can host evening or weekend reading classes. This is our community and I will do my part. 

Sulayman: Really? If you are serious, I want us to talk with the (Alkalo) the head of the village about this idea? What do you think? 

Alagie: Let's go right now. 

As they started to head to the Alkalo's house, Sulayman began to think seriously about this. He paused for a moment, thinking about Alagie's expectations. 

Sulayman: You know Alagie, Sulayman went on, before we go talk with the Alkalo, I just want to let you know that I can't afford to pay you a salary but from time to time, I may send you a small amount from my own pocket for fish money. Alagie looked surprised. 

Alagie: Salary? I am not expecting salary Sulayman. Just get the books here and leave the rest to me.

Sulayman knoew that he has found a partner who shares his vision and passion. 
When they arrived at the Alikalo's house, Sulayman shared his idea with the Alkalo who was surprised. He paused for a moment before asking a few questions. 

Alkalo:  Sulayman, you want to send books from the US to help the kids of Julakunda? 
Sulayman: Yes, I will collect books from the US and send them here. Alagie will manage the reading program.

The Alkalo looked at Alagie for a moment and asked if he was you willing to help the kids read once he received the books? 

Alagie: Yes, If Sulayman sends the books I will do my best to make sure the kids learn to read. 

Alkalo: Ok. Thank you very much Sulayman and Alagie. I will pray for both of you. I will summon a meeting tonight and I want both of you to be present. Come back here after dinner. 

Sulayman and Alagie agreed to attend the meeting. They both sensed how excited the Alkalo was about the idea, and knew that there was no turning back. Sulayman and Alagie both attended the meeting that evening.  

The outcome from the meeting was very positive. Not only did the community commit to the idea and pledged to provide a room where the classes will be held in the interim, they also committed to building a small house when the program grows. Sulayman and Alagie left very excited about the whole idea and started planning. 

On January 24th 2015, Sulayman returned to Washington DC and immediately bought a few children's books, collected some from friends and neighbors and shipped 2 boxes full of children's books. The reading room started its first session on February 13th 2015. When feedback reached Sulayman that all the children in the community are enrolled in the program and attending the reading sessions, he was even more re-energized to do more.

Soon Sulayman realized that he cannot do this alone and decided to leverage his connection with Mentor a Gambian for help. Sulayman learned that Isatou, a MAG board member was working on a similar idea and already has books sitting in the Gambia. Without hesitation, Isatou offered the books for immediate use in the Julakunda reading room. The books are currently in use in Julakunda. 

Mentor a Gambian admired Sulayman's passion and desire to help his community. They have pledged to host a book drive to collect 1000 children's books to help the children of Julakunda and expand the program. We hope you can be a part of it too by supporting the book drive.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED
1. Donate children's books and school supplies. We will pickup around the Seattle area.

2. Donate Money for shipping the books and supplies.
3. Volunteer at our reading rooms when visiting Gambia.

Please contact us by phone at 425-418-9971 or via email at support@mentoragambian.org or on ​​​Facebook


 

 

HOW TO GET INVOLVED
1. Donate children's books and school supplies. We will pickup around the Seattle area.

2. Donate money for shipping the books and supplies.
3. Volunteer at our reading rooms when visiting Gambia.​
4. Contact us by phone at 425-418-9971 or via email at support@mentoragambian.org or ​​​on Facebook​.

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Help us bring books and essential supplies to this reading room.

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 Kids eager to learn, but lack essential supplies. Please help improve this program.

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Program Volunteer at one of the reading room centers. 

"I am not demanding to be paid to help these kids. All I need are essential supplies. They need books, pencils, crayons, white boards etc. Help me with the supplies and I will do the rest". 

This volunteer, who is also a college student travels 30 miles every weekend to host weekend reading sessions at his own expense.


 


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