The Farato Education Foundation

Together, We Can Do It!

Our Story

Children to School

Welcome! Thank you for taking an interest in the Farato Education Foundation (FEF). Officially established in 2020, the foundation’s primary objective is to promote education and establish basic residential and living facilities in the area of Farato, The Gambia (West Africa). We believe that every child should have the opportunity to learn in order to create a better future for him- or herself. By doing so, we want to contribute to the development and well-being of the people in the entire region of Farato.

In the early days, FEF set out to give children, who could not attend school, the opportunity to go to school. This was done in the Xavier School project. The volunteers of the FEF have been involved with this school since 2012 and have seen with their own eyes how important education is for the region. When Herman van der Meulen and Mirjam Huisman, founders of the FEF, were in Farato for the first time, only 10% of the children went to school. We are proud to say that by now 90% of the children in Farato have access to education!

The Mission

Our Goal

The Xavier School consists of a nursery school and a primary school, and with the FEF, we are proud to announce that the building of the second nursery school is finished. This space will offer valuable education for the youth in Farato and the surrounding areas. Earlier donations towards our foundation founded the construction of this building. The foundation is now very busy securing the last funds for the furnishing, teachers, and more essential factors to ensure an opening of the school. For more information, see the aspiration page.

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Founder Xavier Nursery School -
Simon Suta Mendy

The Xavier Nursery School

Simon Suta Mendy is the founder, school director and teacher at the Xavier Nursery School. Together with the teachers, he dedicates himself day after day to all 688 children. With a lot of personal attention, he wants to give the children a better future. He will introduce himself and the school.

My name is Simon Suta Mendy, a teacher by profession and born in the West Coast Region of The Gambia. The idea of starting the Xavier Nursery School came to me in 2008 during my time as a teacher. As a trained teacher, it was a big challenge for me to see many children of school-going age unable to experience education. I said to myself, “Something must be done to give these children one of their fundamental rights”, which is the right to education. This was not easy since most of their parents could not even afford the three fundamental meals in a day and the nearest school was two kilometres away.

When I began constructing the first school, I did not concern myself with the difference in age between the children, since my priority at that time was to make sure they were all able to participate in some form of education. As a result however, I recieved less trust and some parents even developed some skepticism about the project. I decided it was best to go about it in a low-boundary manner, in the form of simply visiting houses and telling the family members about my ideas. I explained to them the importance of education and how it is a basic right for children to be able to receive education. This period of preparation was followed up by implementing my idea with a small group for the very first time. As of right now, the school has grown to a capacity of 688 pupils, facilitating students from nursery to primary levels.

Even though big steps have been taken and a lot has already been accomplished, there is still a lot of opportunity to grow. I am excited to see what the future holds and to invest even more of my time in making the experience for the students the most fun and stimulating as possible!

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We are happy you found this page and hope you consider supporting our projects.

In case your company would like to sponsor our foundation do not hesitate to contact us via the contact form.

The Team

About Us

Let us introduce ourselves!

We are six students, all following the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program at Nyenrode Business Universiteit. This academic year (2023-2024), we form the board of the Farato Education Foundation (left to right: Sem van Egmond, Maxime den Hertog, Anouk Thomé van der Togt, Roos Volmerink, Sofia Konincks and Sem van Duivendijk).

Each year, six new Nyenrode students will form the board of the foundation, together with our mentor and founder of the foundation, Herman van der Meulen, we run the foundation and try to help the region of Farato in the Gambia increase its potential at a better life.