Rain, rain go away blog post

With the new school term about to begin, the teachers at Friends of Jan Jan Bureh Nursery (JJB) in The Gambia have been looking forward to the children going back to school. For lots of children, school is the only chance they have to get a hot meal, which, along with an indispensable education, is why it is so important for them to be able to go to school every day.

Unfortunately, though every child should be entitled to go to school every day, for many this isn’t possible. At Jan Jan Bureh Nursery, this can be due to factors as small as the weather. Rain plays a huge role in whether children are able to go to school and get the education they deserve so that they have an equal start in life like their peers.
A teacher at the school spoke to us at Intouch Global Foundation to tell us about how much of a difference rain can make to a normal school day.

“Today, the nursery will re-open for the Autumn Term. That is, unless the rains continue.
The school was cleaned ready for re-opening, but on Thursday, it rained heavily and once again, the roads surrounding the nursery were flooded.

The playground, with the incomplete building work and poor drainage, was flooded, muddy and unusable.

The play area has, again, been cleaned and the floors mopped ready for the children to arrive today.

However, if it rained yesterday, or if the rains come today, parents will not venture out of their homes as they do not have waterproof shoes or protective clothing. Instead, everything comes to a standstill until the torrential rains stop and the floodwater has dispersed. There is also the fear of snakes lurking around the flood water!
Lessons are not possible during the rainy seasons as teachers cannot make themselves heard above the noise of the heavy rain beating down on the corrugated tin roof.  The rains this year have been unusually prolonged.

Communication with the Headteacher remains difficult as the power supply is intermittent and the network is poor.

Communication generally remains a real difficulty; electricity has been installed but we are waiting for a meter to be supplied. Two ‘tablets’ have been shipped out and will reach JJB on Thursday. The IT teacher at the local secondary school has agreed to set the tablets up to enable communication by email.

Regardless of the many difficulties that surround living in such an under-developed area, we are confident that the staff will be fully prepared to welcome the children back into the nursery today. Weather permitting!”