My huge congratulations and sincere thanks to all the volunteers who helped out with this year’s wrist-banding and programme selling at Shambala festival. Your support ensured that thousands of festival goers made it on to the site with a big smile on their faces – and a colourful band on their wrists!
You have also helped continue the six year legacy of support that Shambala director Jon Walsh has extended to this charity. Connections like these not only bring additional funds, they also share the Bansang story with diverse new audiences that we would never otherwise reach.
Here’s to there being many more years of Shambala Festival
Anita Smith MBE
Founder & Director, Bansang Hospital Appeal
Many of you reading this will have already heard about Bansang Hospital’s administrator, Baboucarr Saine. He has been an instrumental part in the dramatic improvements we have seen across the hospital in recent years. I am therefore very proud to relay the news that his dynamism has been recognised far beyond the walls of Bansang Hospital. The following letter was written by Baboucarr earlier in the year;
I have been selected out of 350 young leaders in the Gambia to attend the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young Africa Leaders. The Fellowship is the flagship programme of President Barack Obama aimed at providing leadership and and managerial skills to young African leaders so that we can serve as game changers in our communities.
I’ll be leaving The Gambia 17th June, 2016 for Atlanta Georgia. I’ll attend a six week intensive academic residency at Georgia State University, after which I’ll travel to Washington D.C to attend a three day summit to be hosted by President Obama. He will there to address 1000 promising young African leaders including my humble self. After the summit, I’ll travel to Minnesota to do a six week internship at Hennepin County Medical Center (a Level 1 trauma Hospital in Minnesota). When the internship ends in October, I’ll return to Bansang to put into practice the knowledge and skills gained in the U.S. I’ll be in touch and will send regular updates as I progress in my Fellowship.
Baboucarr is now in America – and has sent me an update on his experiences thus far;
Asamoulaikum and Eid Mubarak to you all. I hope you all had a wonderful Eid with your families. May Allah (SWT) accept our Fast and grant our prayers. May our goals and aspirations for the hospital come true. Unfortunately for me, I was given just one hour to attend Eid prayers and return to class. Despite that, week 3 like the previous weeks was interesting and very educative. We had lectures on Criminal and Civil laws, Public Speaking, Public Administration and Organisational Behaviour.
Also, we had the special honour and privilege of meeting the Mayor of Atlanta, Mohammed Kassim Reed. The Mayor shared with us his leadership philosophy and grand vision for the city of Atlanta. Currently, the city of Atlanta has the biggest Airport in the U.S, and also serves as the Head Quarters of major global brands/companies such as Coca-Cola, Cable News Network (CNN News Media), United Parcel Services (UPS), Delta Airlines etc. The state of Georgia also has the fourth biggest seaport in the US. At the end of the meeting, we all felt inspired; an African-American leading one of the most vibrant cities in the United States and the main business hub of America.
Personally, I came to realise that with commitment, a clear vision and sense of purpose a leader can achieve anything even what may seem impossible. I wish you all a great week ahead. Attached are few photos I want to share. God bless us and bless The Gambia.
It really is wonderful to see that incredibly inspiring people like Baboucarr are being recognised at the very highest levels of the the international community. I wish him continuing success on the fellowship programme, and a wonderful time at President Obama’s leadership summit in Washington D.C!
Anita Smith MBE
Founder & Director, Bansang Hospital Appeal
Just 5 months after launching our urgent #BHASafePower campaign, we are delighted to confirm that the project has now been completed! The hospital is now bathed in safe, energy efficient and reliable LED lighting; a far cry from the previous 70 year old system that resulted in six electrical fires in 2015 alone!
The hospital management are justifiably very proud of this project, and have created a PDF report (with lots of pictures!) showing the transformation. We hope you’ll take a moment to have a read; http://bansanghospitalappeal.org/led-lighting-electrical-report-bha-2016/
You can learn more about the project here; http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/BHAsafepower
Our most sincere thanks to everyone who answered our call for help
Anita and the Bansang Hospital team
We are pleased to announce that our winter 2015 newsletter is now available to download. In this world of trouble and strife, it is a very nice antidote…with lots of positive news! However, as is so often the case when working in such a challenging part of the world, we do have some troubling news to report (and an urgent funding request).
In the last year, the hospital has had a spate of electrical fires – any one of which could have swept through the whole hospital. These fires are rather unsurprising given that the electrical system is essentially the same as installed by the British prior to World War 2! However, the size and regularity of the fires are putting into jeopardy ALL of the progress we have made over all these years.
We have been lucky so far, but we do not want to continue relying on our staff to spot and then extinguish these fires before they get out of control. As such, we have committed £36,000 to a reinstallation of ALL electrical and lighting systems throughout the hospital. This is incredibly good value considering the size of the job – and will also give us 60% energy savings in the future. Our contingency funds have so far covered the first £20,000 of the project. We now need to work hard to find the remaining £16,000.
In this, the season of goodwill, we hope you will take the opportunity to read our newsletter – but more importantly, consider whether you can make some small compromises this Christmas in support of our fundraising effort (Cheaper wine? A few less presents? An evening in rather than an expensive evening out?). In fact, speaking of presents…why not make a donation to this cause, and then send it as a principled gift to a loved one? (My son, Laurence, is happy to create personalised PDF certificates that you can then print and gift).
Having just sent the newsletter to our 700+ email subscribers, and our 400 Facebook page members, we are hopeful that we can make some inroads into our fundraising target. If every one of those people were to donate £10 each, we will have gone a great way to covering the entire shortfall!
So please have a read of our newsletter – and if you do have the funds available, please consider making a donation on our Virgin Money Giving campaign page.
Most people reading this article will understand the mechanics of creating a new building. It generally involves architects, lorry loads of building materials, a myriad of different professionals, various bits of heavy machinery to put things together, and lots of cups of tea! It also tends to cost a small fortune.
Building work in Bansang is VERY different! There is no heavy machinery with which to dig foundations, or building merchants from which to buy most of the materials. Nearly everything (right down to the individual bricks) are made on the hospital grounds, and are laboriously put together in the unrelenting African sun.
Given these challenges, we are simply blown away by the speed with which this latest building has come together. Even more impressive is that the majority of the team (24 youths) were unemployed prior to this project. Just two months later, and they are already a cohesive team working from sunrise to sundown to get the project finished. The skills they will take back into the Bansang community will give them a great opportunity to earn a living for themselves, and their families.
Rather than us tell you all about the project, please take a moment to read the interim progress report that the hospital sent us. It is a highly impressive insight into the way these projects operate, and what they mean to everyone working at Bansang Hospital.
We are incredibly pleased and grateful to have BPEC supporting this project via the BPEC Life Award. Founded in memory of BPEC’s founding Chariman, Raymond J Brooks, the award has a simple objective; to use plumbing skills to enhance life in the UK or abroad.
Although this project has yet to be completed, it has already had a dramatic impact. Our local contractor has taken 24 youths out of employment; giving them skills that are readily transferable, and a sense of purpose and pride that many of them have never experienced. When the project is completed, it will give our maintenance team a renewed pride in the vital role they have at the hospital. It will also allow them to operate far more efficiently and effectively – which will ultimately help everyone else at the hospital fulfil their own potential.
Please take a moment to read our urgent appeal for new monthly standing order donors. With a bit of luck, we hope it may sway you to give a truly principled gift this Mother’s Day. One which doesn’t last a weekend…but which helps us to continue doing what we have done for more than 20 years. A gift which takes once destitute mother’s like Kaddy from their life of squalor and fear to a life of gainful employment, hope and happiness.
Thank you for your support
We are pleased to announce that the renovations are now complete at our Chief Executive’s house. Baba Jeng and his family have already moved in, and are absolutely thrilled with the incredible changes delivered to them through the support of our long-term donors, John and Janice Brotherton.
Those who have followed the story of Bansang Hospital over the years will know that these renovations are far from unique. They are in fact part of an extensive staff retention and motivation program that Anita has overseen for much of the last two decades. It has helped take our staff from living in squalor, to living in accommodation that truly reflects the magnificent contribution they all make to the health and well-being of their people. Valuing each and every member of staff has helped Bansang Hospital achieve the remarkable statistic of retaining almost 100% of its staff for more than 4 years running. To the best of our knowledge, this is a feat unparalleled anywhere in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Thank you again to John and Janice; you really have transformed lives over the years, and you have now given a real home to a truly remarkable chief executive.
You can help:
We have created a dedicated ‘Staff Retention and Motivation’ Campaign page on Virgin Money Giving. So if you would like to join John & Janice in supporting this fantastic project, please donate using the link below;
(We will be converting all of our website donation links into ‘campaigns’ over the coming days. We are doing this as we think it is important that you are able to choose exactly where your money goes. We also think it is nice for our staff in Bansang to be able to see your donations and the comments you leave on the donation page; it will hopefully highlight just how much support there is for Bansang Hospital from our international donors!)