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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Economic Development, Education, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Higher Education, International, International Economic Development, International Relief, Literacy, Microfinance

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 build a poultry farm and garden in the village of Kerewan [to fight malnutrition among very young children] and to build an 8--classroom block at Berending.

Target demographics: the children, the women, the economically disadvantaged and the environment.

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 200 children and adults to be actively engaged in sustainable development and learning.

Geographic areas served: the rural villages of The Gambia engaging communities to develop sustainable projects.

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.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Board Member

Rating: 5

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

Previous Stories


Rating: 5

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.


Board Member

Rating: 5

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.