I enjoy volunteering for GambiaHELP. As an all volunteer organization, you really get to feel good about the great work being done. I especially like the support GambiaHELP gives women's groups to help them with village based programs like batik, soap making and other village industries that the women then use to help the entire village.
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.
As a volunteer, i have the opportunity to serve as an advisor to the GambiaHELP Service Club at Roosevelt High School in Seattle, WA. The club is in its second year and very popular. Twenty-five students come to school for a 7 am meeting every single Tuesday morning during the school year. In six week cycles they brainstorm, vet, plan, promote and execute fundraisers. The current focus is to re-build the school in Berending, The Gambia. The new school is about 1/3 funded. It is exciting to see the incoming freshmen become global citizens as they realize that every snicker-doodle baked and sold actually goes to help a very real other student half-way around the world. The Seattle students get more and more focused as the year goes by. These are life lessons they will carry forever.
GambiaHELP is one of the best organizations helping children and women in The Gambia with education and health ,My whole family are volunteers and my employer is a donor.
Every person is born with the right to be taught to read and understand the rudiments of scientific understanding. In the developing world this simple dignity is too often denied to women and girls. GambiaHELP puts donations directly into the hands of those who need them most; personally delivering books to school libraries, paying scholarships, and putting backpacks and school supplies into the hands of students. Every penny is used to further the mission (the chief executive's salary is $0). Join us and make a real difference in this winnable fight.
GambiaHELP is a wonderful organization that raises funds to support projects in the Gambia identified and proposed by the communities and people of Gambia. In addition to raising funds for projects, GambiaHELP also collects educational and medical supplies throughout the year in Seattle that are then shipped to Gambia. Shelby spends several months every year living in Gambia distributing the donations and learning about the needs and future projects from Gambians. I have volunteered for GambiaHELP for over 10 years and was able to go to Gambia to see all the wonderful projects that have been supported.
Shelby knows how to make things happen! For decades, she has been cultivating relationships in The Gambia, and along with locals, figures out practical ways to give villages the boosts they need to get long-term projects rolling and thriving. She gives financial and logistical help to start educational, nutritional and small-business projects that benefit entire communities, and that the local people can sustain and develop on their own for years to come. I am happy to be able to contribute my time and funds, both of which I see used efficiently, sensibly, and with warm appreciation.
GambiaHELP is an extraordinary organization with a great mission to give, provide and build. With several fundraisers and events, Director Shelby Tarutis and the organization's volunteers have truly made a difference through dedicating their time and energy into making a difference for the people of Gambia. I am happy to say that I have been a part of such a wonderful organization.
Our biggest projects include building libraries, schools, and skill centers. Skill centers are buildings where the community can receive training, have meetings, store supplies out of the weather and make the goods for their sustainable projects.
The projects GambiaHELP supports come from the needs and dreams of the communities in The Gambia. GambiaHELP requires the community to donate 25% of the project in labor, services and land donations. This is a time consuming method, but because of this dedication and commitment, our projects have long lasting results and are beneficial to the entire community.
This is only one aspect of the incredible projects that GAMBIA HELP does. Please read the personal blog of Director Shelby from this year's trip. It details the work she so willingly and generously does.
Susan Moen, Board Member
I have been to Gambia with Shelby Tarutis to distribute money for schools, scholarships, clinics, libraries and Women's cooperatives. Over 95% of the money raised is used in projects in Gambia to help Gambians in sustainable ways. As a former Peace Corps volunteer, she speaks the language; Director Tarutis opens communication about what projects are the most needed iny the villages by talking with the elders. Over 55 libraries have been refurbished or built by her projects. I was incredibly impressed by her work.
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.
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.
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.