The Gambian Home For Children With Learning Difficulties
is run by the Hart Foundation, which is a fully registered
NGO charity which was established in 2001 to offer short-term
stays for kids with learning problems. Hart House also
gives parents and care providers respite from caring
for their children and to exchange ideas and progress
The respite home covers the developmental stage of children
and helps them attain their highest potential by providing
a number of stimulating sets of learning and play activities.
Their intake has over 20 registered children with special
needs, aged between 5 to 15, most of whom are resident
with a few enrolled on a day-care basis from Mondays
to Fridays. However, during the low holiday season the
numbers they can accommodate is reduced because of a
drop in donations from tourist visitors to The Gambia.
Most of the children's learning problems are as a result
of having suffered from cerebral malaria while others
are the result of cerebral palsy (CP), epilepsy and
speech disorders. Young people with mild to profound
mental problems are taken into the Hart House programme
for cognitively stimulating classroom activities.
Enrolment & Referrals:
Children are recommended to them from families, the
Ministry of Health & Social Welfare, kindergarten
& primary school teachers, passers by, other non-governmental
organisations in The Gambia and hospital paediatric
Once someone is referred to the institution the founder,
Mr. Geoffrey Hunwicks, makes a trip to the child's residence
to talk with his/her family. If all goes well an admissions
application form is filled out and a duplicate copy
is delivered to the Ministry of Health in Banjul.
• Arts & crafts.
life skills such as washing & getting dressed
• Excursions for learning, fun, etc.
• Jigsaw puzzles
• Children's DVDs
• Matching colours
• Outdoor sports
• Physiotherapy & speech therapy
• Playing with toys & table games
• Signs & symbols using Makaton
• Socially interactive games
• Water play
Hart Foundation Structure:
The head of the foundation's executive committee is
Geoff Hart along with his spouse the director, cashier,
secretary, staff and family representation.
Funding & Help:
Most of the donated items and sponsorship monies comes
from visitors to the Gambia between the months of November
to April each year. These are for example individual
child sponsorship, cash to the Hart Foundation, donations
for furniture and toys provided by retailers and private
individuals, gifts of education materials etc. They
also welcome professional and lay volunteers to help
out at the school.
The property is a purpose built complex on two floors
which was finished in the middle of 2002 and measures
14 x 25m.
The first floor is used as the living quarters of the
children and has four bedrooms, a dining area, kitchen,
four play rooms, a living room, store, bathroom, shower,
2 WCs and equipment storage space.
The top level has the living area for the CEO and his
wife, meeting room, four volunteer bedrooms and lounge,
a store, a bathroom and WCs.