Smilegambia originates from a tourist holiday trip of a Belgian family, that was confronted with the limited resources of the Gambian people they visited during their trip. At the end they asked the guide to bring them to a secluded village so they would be able to start up a limited aid. That village was Buntung, 300 inhabitants, mostly kids, located 5 km south-east of Njau, in the Upper River region in central Gambia, on the north bank of the river.
When visiting for the first time they were confronted with a collapsing water well. The family decided to sponsor some money to fix this well, as it was the source of life for the village. The next year they went back to inspect the works, and they installed a 100W loar panel system to charge the cellphones of the village. Surrounding villages also came to charge their phones, thus creating a micro economy.
Cellphones are important as they provide the one and only link between families, when daughters are send away to marry in other villages. They are very cheap and wanted. But there is no electricity.
The next year a flatscreen TV with parabolic dish was bought and installed, to improve language skills and give the villagers a window view to the world, so they could see that if they study they can become something apart from farner, as currently the only income is from ground nuts and pearl millet, exchanged with other vilages for other items.
Another visit the family brought a European Medical doctor, that provided free healthcare. Most villagers never visited a doctor in their entire life.
As a thank you the Chief of the village offered a piece of land, to built houses where philantropists could reside during their visits. These 4 houses were built by the locals providing some extra income. One building was used as a nursery school, and a local teacher was sponsored to teach basic English to the toddlers.
An amateur radio station was installed as well as some extra solar panels, and the money generated by this project promotion over radio was used to buy 10 solar powered radios.
Currently we are building a local community radio FM station, also solar powered to be installed on one of the cellphone towers providing music to these people too far away from coverage of public radio, only serving coastal touristic areas.
We hope to receive more gifts, both goods and valuables to continue this project.