Stella's School Scheme
The rescued chimps of the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Trust (CRT) live in the River
Gambia National Park in The Gambia (click the map image to the left for a more detailed
view), where they inhabit three large forested islands.
The CRT now protects and monitors a population of over sixty free-living chimpanzees,
many of them children and grandchildren of the original rescued chimps.
Eight villages are situated along the boundary of the National Park and over the
years, through conservation education programmes, community projects and through
simply being good neighbours, a strong relationship has been built up between the
villagers and the CRT.
The concept of the Stella's School Scheme (SSS) came about when Stella met
Salieu (right). Salieu was 10 years old at the time and a very bright and
determined child. He lives in Sambel Kunda with his mother who is even poorer than
the average villager as she has no husband. She could not afford to send him to
school and he spent his days herding cattle. Salieu's answer to this problem was to
find good grazing near the school so that while his cattle fed he could run and
attend some classes. When his herd took him nearer the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation
camp he would drop in and befriend the staff. He did his best to be useful around
camp and borrowed any reading material he could. Most of all he took every
opportunity to tell the staff how much he wanted to go to school. As a result of
Salieu's persistence Stella began to take a new interest in the Sambel Kunda village
school. She discovered that it cost very little to send a child to
primary school for a year. Salieu's thirst for knowledge made an impression on
Stella and she undertook to personally sponsor his education. She decided to try
and persuade others to do the same for the rest of the children in the village and
so the idea for SSS evolved.
There are many other children like Salieu in the neighbouring villages who are
eager to learn and being sponsored could make the difference of a lifetime to each
one. SSS was established to generate funds to educate the children from
these villages. Previously under the umbrella of the CRT SSS became a charity in it's own right in mid 2009.
SSS is administered by Ros Harris and Heather Armstrong (Stella's youngest sister and co-founder of The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust).
Education is a vital element in the development of this very poor rural
area. If, through the SSS, we can go some way to breaking the cycle of poverty
and at the same time provide the chimps with their best chance for the future,
through developing the concern and protection of the local community, then we
really will have achieved something worth while.
So please help us to do this by sponsoring a child today. It could be
the most rewarding and effective donation you have ever made.