In 1999 there were just 2 unqualified teachers working with over 100 pupils under a tree. Both were young adults from the village who had left school and could not find work but were keen to educate the children of the village.
They had no paper, pencils, books or chalk and contained the children by repeating the letters of the alphabet, singing songs and reciting numbers and the days of the week.
During the building of the first two nursery classrooms, GamBLE soon realised that training the teachers was more important than the buildings. In 2004, the 2 original unqualified teachers both graduated and became Yalding School Farato's first qualified teachers.
Since then, GamBLE has sponsored 5 more teachers, most of whom live in Farato village giving them a strong sense of team spirit and a deep knowledge of the school's pupils and their families. They also all play active roles in the community.
Moses Demba was selected at interview in December 2009 to become Head Teacher. He took up the post in April 2010. He has worked in Gambian state schools for a number of years in senior posts, including Deputy Head of a large primary school in the next village. He has a great deal of experience in organising workshops and training teachers. He lives in the village and is an active and highly respected member of the community.
Abibatou Jawo joined the school in 2003. In 2008 she became the full time Deputy Head of the nursery school with responsibility of running all 4 classes. Later that year, she came to stay in Yalding, Kent where she worked daily in the primary and pre-school and visited other schools in the area.
Karen Di Marco is one of the founders of GamBLE. Karen is GamBLE's non-paid Academic Director, thus overseeing the academic development and management of Yalding School Farato.
Saffie Bob Jobe was appointed as the school's Nursery Head Teacher in 2004 and oversaw the beginning of the Lower Basic (Primary) school until her retirement in 2007. In January 2005 she spent 4 weeks in Yalding, Kent working at the pre- and primary school gathering ideas to take back to Farato. Under Saffie's leadership, the school was established as a Gambian centre for developmental learning and education through play.
Jainaba Gaye joined the school in 2006. She particularly enjoys working with the very youngest children as she excels in singing, drama and helping them to learn Maths and English through play.
Ida Faal Jawo joined the Nursery team in 2009 as a volunteer assistant. Since then she has developed her skills and in September 2010 she was appointed to a shared teaching post in charge of Nursery 2 (4-5 year olds).
Nyimah Badjie volunteered to help in the school in April 2010 and has proved to be very involved in the classroom. She is responsive to the training she receives from GamBLE and Abibatu, the Deputy Head. In September 2010 she was appointed to share the Nursery 2 teaching post with Ida.
Sanna Yarboe joined us in 2007 as a school leaver. He is renowned for the excellent rapport he holds with his pupils and the highly organised way he uses the GamBLE materials. He has an additional role in the school for managing the sports equipment and leading cricket and football clubs out of school hours.
Sohna Jallow joined the school in 2009 as a volunteer school leaver. After 6 months of observing and guidance from Abibatou, our Deputy Head, she demonstrated that she had the skills to make a good teacher.
Ida Faal is a young school leaver who first joined the school in 2009 as a volunteer. She has gradually gained confidence and skills. She supports and assists each of the nursery teachers.
Jorjor Jallow joined the school in 2006. She is the second longest serving teacher. Now working part time as a Senior Teacher, she prefers to teach Grade 1 where she has a close link with Kaddy to ensure a smooth transition from the nursery to primary school for the children.
Haddy Keitah is a very experienced teacher who joined in 2009 and forfeited a promotion to Deputy Head of a primary school. She is especially interested in Arts and Crafts, encouraging the other teachers to move beyond drawing on the blackboard.
Kemo Konteh graduated from college top of his class and gained teaching experience prior to joining Yalding School Farato in 2007. He teaches all subjects but is particularly interested in Maths. He is mentor to Darboeding and Garden Master. He organises teams of pupils to water the garden - a combined effort of 3000 pumps a day.
Baba Koma joined the school in 2008 and worked with Grade 3, who achieved excellent NATs results. He is highly skilled with computers and has been central to the development of the new computer suite, which had a few computers installed from Yalding School, Kent in November 2008.
Ansumana Ceesay joined the school in 2005 as the first primary school teacher.
Fatou Darboe (Darboeding) joined the primary school in 2008 as a school leaver volunteer. She showed strong potential as a teacher and GamBLE sponsored her to train at the Gambia College for the Primary Teachers' Certificate. In September 2009 she started her 2-year teaching practice at Yalding School Farato. She hopes to qualify in 2011.