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  • Writer's pictureJane Smith

Sanna (Oldpa) Manka's appeal to support his home town’s educational developments

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

The background

This photo, taken on 12th March 2011, appeared on my Facebook a few days ago showing the second year of developing the charity, Just Act Gambia, with the late Hon. Foday Jibani Manka NAM for Janjanbureh. Sadly he has not been able to see the amazing developments which have happened through the input of JUST ACT, the Gambian organisation which, whilst we are still supporting in a very small way, it is working its way to final independence.

These great developments mean that our support can go more generally to the community.

Foday’s passion for his community was instilled in his son Sanna Manka, more commonly known as Oldpa.

Who is Sanna Manka?

Oldpa reflects

I came to UK 12yrs ago , joining the Military in 2009 and currently serving with the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment at Hyde Park Barracks in London. I got inspired by my Dad as I reflect back on many of the conversations we had when he was alive 5yrs ago. These were his words

"Oldpa never forget where you came from and let home always be your start and end point in whatever journey you may embark on in life".

My Dad was a man who dedicated all his life in the development of Janjanbureh. He did this selflessly from the lowest level in the form of community work to being a National Assembly Member representing his constituency in the House of Parliament. I can remember vividly when he first spoke to me about Just Act and the discussions he had with Jane Smith about some community development initiatives. To cut the story short, his vision was to see the town of Janjanbureh Island as a sustainable community that can rely on its resources locally. Sadly he didn't live to witness some of the significant recent developments going on in the Island, however I do believe he would have been a proud man.

As a proud son, all I can do in order to continue making him proud is to pick up from where he stopped and I am very determined to do just that."


How is Sanna carrying out this promise?

On hearing of the difficulties that the local Methodist Lower Basic School was experiencing with lack of furniture, he set up a Go Fund Me to raise funds

Help Sanna buy 150 Tables and Chairs .

A classroom with desks...some are empty

Raising money to help fund 150 locally made metal Tables with Chairs for Pupils of Janjanbureh Methodist Primary School and the newly built Arabic School for the community of Janjanbureh.

Currently there is a shortage of tables and chairs as a result, some of the classrooms in Methodist primary school are empty .

Also the new Arabic School undergoing construction will need tables and chairs to start operations when complete.

Funds raised will be used to make locally made metal tables and chairs for both Schools. Be rest assured your donations will go a long way in creating a brighter future for the community of Janjanbureh and the surrounding area.

'Better Education for our Kids, means better future for the Town of Janjanbureh.'


"Alaa Baraka"

Forward this message to your contacts to help this campaign reach its target!


How can Just Act Gambia support?

Sanna recently asked me to support and as these children will be the future youths of the island and hopefully members of JUST ACT, I offered

  • to produce more publicity

and once my regular commitments to JUST ACT are fulfilled next month

  • future fundraising will be directed to this project

The effect of Covid 19

This year has been problematical for everyone worldwide with Covid 19 but has also enabled some positive outcomes.

I supported a previous Go Fund Me set up by Justice Saidykhan ‘Help Ranerou with water’ to initially help the remote village of Ranerou with a bore hole. Our support along with other donations and direct help from the Government meant the aim of £5000 was no longer required totally for this purpose but it became my personal target to support the CRR region in these dire times. It was a personal one and not through the charity.

How did I raise money?

I did this by sewing hundreds of high quality face coverings, frequently using very popular Gambian materials. It was something which we had never thought necessary before last year but became a rule to wear in shops etc here in UK and still is.

Being virtually housebound in lockdown it gave me a real focus and a way of purposefully spending my time in isolation.

Amazingly, through the support of two local shops,

Dynastic Art and personal requests I was personally able to send £5000 through this initiative but sent directly to a named group for open transparency of funds. This avoided GoFundMe commission and transaction fees.

What did it enable?

  • Donation to Ranerou

  • Locally purchased organic rice to remote villages throughout the region

  • Contribution to building of toilets in Middle School Janjanbureh

  • Purchase of solar street lighting via the Sir Farimang Singhateh Foundation

Openess and transparency

I intend to use the same method of raising funds and a steering committee has been set up so all transactions are registered and supervised

Representatives from


  • Methodist School,

  • Arabic School,

  • Mother’s Club

  • Janjanbureh Methodist Primary Ex Associates of which Sanna is a member

What am I making now?

  • Bags of several styles

    • often from Gambian fabric

    • recycled bags

    • repurposed fabrics

    • donated fabrics

  • Book covers

  • Wallets

  • Purses etc

Whereas I can save on such materials it still requires investment in hardware, interfacings, zips etc so I will sometimes extract these expenses.

So the term covers bags created and other items

hopefully offering ‘bags’, or lots of, support

The very popular Pixie Crossbody bag designed for this year's world to carry your hand sanitiser etc

Book covers for A5 books were very popular

And the latest designs


  • You can go to the GoFundMe site and make a contribution however small

  • Share

by any means ...

Facebook, twitter, emails, word of mouth

Even if you are personally unable to contribute you may have friends who were once in JJB and in a more fortunate position

Let us enable the children of Janjanbureh

have the education they deserve

in the settings they deserve

You may also contact me directly by email to pay direct to my bank account to avoid Gofundme Commission

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