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Every year, many people in The Gambia get seriously ill or die due to the lack of primary health care which the country simply cannot afford. Many deaths and infections could be prevented with basic up to date first aid knowledge and equipment. In The Gambia more than one million people rely on three dangerously overstretched government run hospitals for their medical care. The requirement for good First Aid would seem obvious to us, yet access to even basic equipment and training remains poor. First aid training and equipment can help the Gambians respond to daily health related problems and possible life threatening situations.

Now, more than ever, we need your help. First Aid 4 Gambia is targeted First Aid training and equipment for staff and helpers at schools and nurseries in The Gambia. By donating money or volunteering to run a fund raising event you will help our team continue their valuable work. You could also volunteer to join our outreach team in The Gambia for a week or two, where you can help deliver crucial life-saving training and equipment to those who need it the most. You can donate or volunteer from the menu to the left.

Thank you... Fiona Nelson (Trustee & Founder of First Aid 4 Gambia)

Fiona and Bill Nelson are brother and sister, born in Nigeria of British parents. Ten years ago she started her own company Training for Life which initially delivered first aid training courses for the RLSS and STA in Scotland and the Northumbria Police in England. Her brother also a first aid trainer joined Fiona's company five years ago and together they successfully deliver first aid training courses across Scotland for local authorities and commercial companies.

Fiona's love for Africa has never diminished and one day whilst reading the news from Africa she stumbled upon a story from The Gambia about the plight of the country's primary health care and how a small cut or graze can easily lead to the loss of a limb or an extended hospital stay if a bed can be found in one the country's three hospitals. Fiona visited The Gambia in 2009 to see just how bad things were for herself. It was everything she feared and more. She visited schools and nurseries, spoke with teachers, helpers and other NGO care workers and quickly came to the decision that her First Aid Training skills were desperately needed in The Gambia to save lives.

On her return to the UK she started with the help of her brother the charity First Aid 4 Gambia. They set about raising money, support and the huge amounts of first aid supplies needed. The mission to return to the Gambia with a outreach team that will train the Gambian School and Nursery teachers in basic life saving first aid and provide them with first aid kits.

The first outreach team arrived in The Gambia in November 2009.

There are many people from all walks of life involved in the running and fund raising of First Aid 4 Gambia. There is always so much to do and never enough help or resource. Please see our volunteer and donation pages and help us, train the people of The Gambia to help themselves.

So you want to make a difference

Volunteering with First Aid 4 Gambia is an ideal way to be a responsible tourist whilst you enjoy the winter sun, beaches, exploring the fascinating culture, history and landscape of The Gambia. Volunteering in The Gambia will help you understand the African continent and the problems facing its population on a far more intimate level. Plus, you don’t need any special qualifications but you could join one of Fiona's or Bill's First Aid at Work courses prior to your visit. All we ask is that you have bags of energy and enthusiasm, an open mind and a camera to capture all those special Gambian travel moments!

Volunteers can join our outreach team between November and the end of march for one to four weeks. Cheap package flights are available from Manchester and London direct to The Gambia (click here for travel detail). You will be met at the Airport and driven to the charity's accommodation in The Gambia were you will spend your volunteering vacation. Your accommodation, breakfast, and transport to and from the airport will be supplied by the charity in return for a donation of £125 per week which is used to support the charity's ongoing first aid work in The Gambia. A packed lunch is provided on outreach work days. Read a vounteers review.

Your week/s is split between the charity's work and your personal holiday time. We are very flexible on the amount of time you wish to commit to First Aid 4 Gambia and this can be discussed when you enquire. Email me for further details and availability.

What is twinning?
Each year you will assist your twin school by raising money for first aid supplies and training equipment. Schools and nurseries can raise money by making and selling calendars, "dress down" days, bake or book sales, coffee mornings, readathons, sponsored silences, etc. It costs £250 to kit out each school or nursery in The Gambia. So the nearer you get to £250 the better, but every little bit goes such a long way in The Gambia and we will happily accept whatever you can raise.

Benefits of Twinning for UK School's and Nurseries
Create a long term relationship and bond with a school in The Gambia
Benefit from learning at a personal level about a different culture
First Aid 4 Gambia can assist in launching a penpals scheme for the children
First Aid 4 Gambia can provide feedback as to how donations are being spent
The schools twinning can become part of your curriculum and a base for class projects
School twinning certificate and photographs of chosen school will be provided by First Aid 4 Gambia

Benefits to The Gambian School
Sponsorship of life saving first aid equipment
Improving the quality of school children lives in The Gambia
Promoting global and cultural understanding and awareness
Builds a long term connection and relationship with another culture

To join up email Bill with your contact details

Under 6 hours from the UK and with no time difference, The Gambia is the smallest country in Africa, 30 miles wide by 295 miles in length, situated on the West African coast with an estimated population of 1,700,000 and they all rely on three government run hospitals for essential life saving health care. On 18 February 1965, Gambia was granted independence from the United Kingdom and joined The Commonwealth.

An agriculturally rich country, its economy is dominated by farming, fishing, and tourism. Peanuts (groundnuts) and peanut byproducts are the chief domestic export. About a third of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day. Gambia is heavily dependent on foreign aid.

The climate is tropical with virtually uninterrupted sunshine and high daytime temperatures with almost no rainfall from November to June. English is the official language of the Gambia. About 90% of the country's inhabitants are Muslim. Most of the urban population live in Banjul, the capital and largest city.

Successive Gambian Governments have worked hard to provide better health care, unfortunately the economy does not generate enough income to satisfy the enormous demands that a health care system requires. By providing primary health care training and first aid supplies our aim is to alleviate some of the demand for hospital beds due to infections, cross infections and the lack of prompt first aid treatment from trained first aiders.

We have many good people from all walks of life helping make this charity a reality. The truth is we can never have enough help or money to fix the primary health care problems of The Gambia but every little bit raised here goes such a long way in The Gambia. So please keep helping, fund raising and volunteering because without you, we couldn't do it.

Being involved with First Aid 4 Gambia is an emotional tie for many of us. For other it is the pride in a job well done or the satisfaction of helping others in real need. Whatever the reward is for you, you can now keep up to date in real time with the work of the charity and its outreach team in The Gambia via Twitter. Simply click on the little bird with the follow me sign and the whole process is painless and quick. You can even have the updates sent direct to your phone as an SMS message. The wonders of technology eh.

You can also Fan our Facebook page by clicking the blue icon with the F to the left. You do not need a Facebook account to read our page but please consider joining Facebook (it's free) and interact with our volunteers and supporters who make up our wonderfully caring First Aid 4 Gambia community. All the up to date news and larger length stories from our outreach team are posted here regularly.

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