The Hub is a learning and skills centre for children and the wider communities. The Hub is a place where individuals and families can go to access various provisions. At The Hub there is a Preschool, a Lower Basic School (Primary), a library, an Information Technology suite and the FSF administration office. In total there are 368 children accessing education The Hub.
The Fresh Start Preschool
One of the Fresh Start Foundation’s greatest achievements was that in September 2013 the charity opened its very own preschool is providing a sustainable quality education to 148 orphans and other vulnerable children, aged 4 to 7 years old, who would have otherwise been on the street and vulnerable.
The preschool consists of three large classrooms, a training room, a Library/IT suite, staff room, a dining area and toilets block for pupils and staff, the school also benefited with a borehole that provides clean drinking water to the school. The FSF preschool makes a significant impact towards reducing the low school attainment of disadvantaged children especially girls. At our preschool, we are pleased to report that out of 148 children 76 are girls who are equally accessing an uninterrupted education, food and clean water in a safe and nurturing environment.
Whilst at school, all children are provided with a square meal and learning resources free of charge. In addition, orphans and girls are provided with free education, we found this to be an important incentive that encourages the retention of disadvantaged children at school because the supplies of learning and teaching resources such as pens, books, school bags and pencils ease the financial burden for the families. In addition, the school employs Gambian teachers with Early Childhood Development certificates and each classroom has a teaching assistant to enable teachers to deliver the curriculum more effectively. All children have access to IT lessons delivered by a trained IT teacher as this is part of the curriculum, the pupils also have access to a well-resourced library which encourages both teachers and pupils to read and carry out research.
The Fresh Start Lower Basic School
The FSF embarked on a school extension project and has built five more classrooms which was opened in September 2014 to provide a Lower Basic School primary stage education. This school provides a quality education for 220 children from 7-14 years of age, who all have equal access to an interrupted education in a safe and nurturing environment. This project begun due to the high demand for education in the area and to enable our existing preschool pupils to continue their education until 14 years.
We are proud to have 198 girls attending the FSF schools because we consider this a fantastic result, whereby these girls are accessing equal opportunities in education.
Additionally, supportive approaches are implemented based on the principles of inclusiveness, integration and participation of children with special needs creating a friendly school environment so that they too can have access to quality education led by experienced teaching staff all of which have achieved the qualified teacher status.
FSF expect that the lasting impact of this project will enable them to access the wider world confidently and with the skills they need to progress in life. It is also envisaged that the surrounding community will acknowledge the importance of education for both boys and girls and indeed for the adults to also take part in short training courses and develop their literacy and numeracy skills, increase participation and equality in basic education, increase performance and retention rates for girls, improving the quality of teaching and learning, strengthening early childhood education, meeting appropriate learning and life skills for young people by placing an emphasis on meeting gender equality as well as access to ICT in our school.