GAMBIA HEALTH EDUCATION LIAISON PROJECT (GambiaHELP)

Rating: 4.95 stars   22 reviews

Issues: Environment, International, Economic Development, Microfinance

Location: 3920 NE 38th Street Seattle WA 98105 USA

Mission: GambiaHELP provides health and education resources & seed funding to projects that alleviate poverty and enhance the well-being of people in The Gambia.
Results: This year we are supporting 60 children, mostly orphans through our Educational Fund, providing books and school supplies to 50 rural schools requesting assistance, and rehabilitating several libraries that were damaged by heavy rains. We are currently fundraising to renovate a skills center in Banjulinding and build a school (8 classroom block) in Berending.
Programs: The Library/Book Project: The development and building of libraries in primary and secondary schools throughout rural Gambia; Women's Empowerment Project is the training of women in cooperatives with marketable skills such a rice milling, cereal banking, sewing and small enterprise development (poultry farming and gardening); Education Fund is a program to send economically disadvantaged and orphaned boys and girls to school by payment of school fees, clothing, supplies, shoes and a daily lunch.
2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 91-1980614
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

What really impresses me about GambiaHELP is that the volunteers work so hard to develop programs that help communities grow on a sustainable basis. They work with village elders and women's groups to make sure the project meets their needs and the community has to contribute 25%. It is amazing how eager the communities are for these small sustainable projects like dye-dying, mosquito nets, and soap making that they can make again and again to support their communities. This is really the model of "teaching the people to fish" rather than giving them a temporary handout.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I am impressed the way Shelby Tarutis, Director of GambiaHELP, takes the time and effort to attend long and culturally involved meetings with the villages to make sure that GambiaHELP projects meet the needs of the community. The villages help to make the projects successful by providing labor, land and managing the project. One sample project is the milling machine. The village supplied the land and built the building. They also helped develop how the machine should be run. It is managed by the Women's Group. The man that runs it gets the chaff from the machine to feed his goats. When you have your rice milled, 1/10 goes to the Women's Group who redistribute it in time of need. A very successful and sustainable project. It also gives the women more time for other projects and learning instead of always pounding rice by hand. GambiaHELP is a terrific group, all volunteers and I think something like 95% of all their donations go directly to projects in The Gambia.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been working with Shelby and the GambiaHELP team for over a decade, and I currently on the Board. I have visited school libraries that GambiaHELP supports, delivered backpacks filled with school supplies to students (the picture are students from Sukuta Primary School), seen malaria nets that women have sewn on sewing machines given by GambiaHELP and unloaded a container filled with medical supplies and bikes to be distributed throughout the country. It has been a pleasure and honor to be part of the organization and to see the incredible results of the work that GambiaHELP has done for all Gambians.

The libraries are bright, warm rooms filled with books that the students and teachers eagerly use. It is not uncommon to have schools without books, without libraries. One can only imagine how difficult it is teach and learn without resources. Setting up libraries with hundreds of books and providing other educational supplies has helped students learn in ways that they had not known before and opened them to the love of learning.

Women have been supported with loans, milling machines and sewing machines that assist them to gain skills and produce goods both for their own use and sell to support and provide for themselves and their families. Options for women are not many in the country. With GambiaHELP's assistance they have opportunities. Health centres are equipped with medical supplies and office equipment to be able to administer, aid and support the people of local communities. Supplies are scarce and expensive. GambiaHELP has provided much needed resources.

The volunteers that have donated their time and energy to GambiaHELP are amazing. Generous. Kind. Willing to help however they can. I have met volunteers both in Seattle and throughout The Gambia and admire their energy. They are fabulous people.

Shelby is recognized and appreciated in many circles in The Gambia. Going to a village with her is quite a treat with people of all ages running up to see and touch her. She is one of those rare individuals whose power to give is endless. The people in Gambia know how special she is and appreciate all that she has done. I am in awe of her caliber and dedication to the mission of GambiaHELP.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

As a donor (and former volunteer) I'm happy to support GambiaHELP! They provide an amazing level of service to women and children with tremendenous need. The funding and donations received by GambuaHELP go directly to services and projects, with less than 5% spent on administration and expenses of the organization. This small agency makes a huge impact!

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

The group of people that volunteer for GambiaHELP are truely inspiring. They all work so hard towards this amazing organization and put in the time to really make a difference. GambiaHELP has started with so little help and resources and really taken off over the years. I feel fortunate to be a part of this organization.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Shelby Tarutis is one of the most amazing women I have ever met. She started out in Gambia as a Peace Corp Volunteer, and then went back to help the people she loves once she was out of the Peace Corp. I have never seen anyone as dedicated to a cause as Shelby. She tirelessly works 12 months out of the year, fund raising in Seattle, which usually includes a big auction, and I have attended many of these at the Women's University Club...there is silent auction items to choose from, and wonderful live auction items, as well as wonder food and drink. Gambians are there looking splendiferous in their native garb and dance and play music. It is a must attend event as well as a great fund raiser . She gathers up goods of clothing, medical supplies, etc. for the gambians and ships a container to Gambia once a year. Once the container has arrive she follows and helps distribute goods around the country, and she is there about two months, sacrificing time with her family back in Seattle. She is an Angel!

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

GambiaHELP does a great deal of good with a small amount of resources! From medicine to books to town-specific assistance guided by village elders, the projects make a big impact.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Shelby Tarutis, the Director of Gambia Help, already had a planned trip to Gambia when I contacted her for help. I needed to find a non-profit willing to help three children in need of an education who were Liberian refugees living in the Gambia. Shelby and her coordinator Essa Camara met with the family, a UN Volunteer, and three schools to verify and pay the children's tuitions, along with their planned work delivering books, bikes, school and medical supplies. It is amazing to me how much they accomplished in such little time! When Shelby returned from Africa, she attended my fundraising event and spoke of the family we helped. She actually gave me gift certificates to offer at the silent auction to raise money for the family in Gambia. I was completely blown away by her generosity, considering she had already done so much to help. Shelby and her volunteers are extremely hard working, compassionate and really know how to help others. This has been a life changing experience for myself and the family in need, I now plan to be a volunteer for Gambia Help because I know the great difference they make for others in need!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I strongly support GambiaHelp because it increases opportunities for women and children in that poor part of Africa. They have so little, and GambiaHelp ships and distributes a variety of items that are useful for the women to develop their crafts and earn needed money by selling them. It also helps the children by providing backpacks with school supplies, which are in short supply there. The country has a library but it is poorly stocked. GambiaHelp collects books, clothing and other useful items and ships them to the country to benefit the library as well as the citizens. Finally, for a small donation, GambiaHelp facilitates drilling a well, which helps the families who otherwise must walk long distances for fresh water.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I was intially attracted to GambiaHELP because the organization benefits communities in Africa, a part of the world that has always held my interest. I was compelled to continue volunteering with GambiaHELP after learning about the Executive Director’s personal relationship with the communites for which she fundraises. After helping plan and prepare for their 12th annual auction and dinner, an event where I found myself profoundly moved by the compassion and generousity of those who attended, I knew I wanted to continue my involvement with GambiaHELP. I am interested in pursuring a career in the non-profit sector and Shelby, the Executive Director, has kindly taken on the mentor roll. She has opened doors for me by inviting me to network at large functions for leaders in non-profit, as well as guided me through the steps of grant acquisition. The grassroots nature of GambiaHELP has provided me with valuable perfessional experience, but has more notablity given me a sense that I am making a difference, a feeling that is truly invaluable. I highly recommend and invite anyone who wants see the direct impact of their contribution to volunteer for GambiaHELP.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful?