Breaking a Ceiling

Kassamanding Kanteh is the first girl in our program to be accepted at Nusrat, one of the top government high schools in the urban area of The Gambia. Several of our boys have been educated there, and have then gone on to the university. Kassamanding is an excellent student and wants to attend the university and go into banking. Her mother, Mansalley Touray, grows vegetables in a small plot in a cooperative garden in Salikenni and sells them at a weekly market in another village. Growing up, Kassamanding often helped her mother with this strenuous work: hauling water buckets from a deep open well to irrigate the plot and loading bundles of produce into a van that takes women from the village to and from the market every Wednesday. Recently, as her mother weakened with age, Kassamanding took over more of the work. She said her mother has always been a source of direction for her life. (Her father is deceased.) “She always advised me to concentrate on my studies. She said that education is the key to success.” It’s a big step leaving the village and coming to live in the SSF campus in the teeming metropolis. I talked with Kassamanding a week after she arrived. She worried that her mother would be lonely. The day before our interview she had borrowed a mobile phone to call her mother. “She said, 'We all miss you so much.' I said I also miss her. She advised me to concentrate on learning. I said I will.” (Read the Full Annual Report)



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