Anna Rendell-Baker writes: When I was an undergrad at Champlain College, I spent a few months in The Gambia for a school program. While I met many Gambians there, one in particular stood out. Mariama Saye was not well educated like the students I met from the University of The Gambia; she worked in the compound where I stayed. But Mariama was always fun and kind, worked hard, and we all loved her. I have stayed in touch with Mariama since and as so many in the world right now, she has lost her job.
Mariama's dream is to become a chef and work in one of The Gambia's many hotels and restaurants. While the tourism trade is decimated right now, it will not always be so, and this is actually the perfect time to learn such a profession.
The Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute (GTHI) is the country's leading school training young Gambians for such careers. But it is a private school and its tuition places it out of reach of most Gambians, and certainly for Mariama.
The total cost of a two-year program at GTHI is $3,000 - a small amount by U.S. standards, but several years' income for most Gambians. I'd like to help her achieve her dream. So I'm working with the U.S. charity GambiaRising to raise the funds she needs. GambiaRising was founded in 2011 by a former Country Director for Peace Corps and a group of returned Peace Corps volunteers. They are a registered California charitable trust and operate under section 501(c)3 of the IRS code. They have offered to manage payments to GTHI for Mariama if we can raise the funds, and also to use all funds raised to support Mariama (or if we exceed our goal), other girls like her. (I.e., nothing will go to overhead.)
I hope you can help. One of the most effective actions one can take in any developing country is educating girls, and Mariama is certainly one who will make the most of the opportunity.