The man behind the scenes

My name is Uwe Beckers. I live in Krefeld, Germany and for the last 32 years, I have been employed at the IT department of the employment office.

For many years, I have been employed in a part-time model, which gives me the opportunity to work 7 months in Germany and staying in Gambia, West Africa for the rest of the year. During the winter months, I live on my own land in Brikama Madina. I am married to a Gambianese and we have a daughter, Emma.

I started revising my land and building my home in Gambia in 2007 and finally finished after 7 years, despite many obstacles.

After several visits to the country, I bought a cheap piece of land without thinking about what I would actually do with it. Back then it was just a piece of land of 1000 square meters with no water and no electricity at the end of the world.
My only neighbors were goats, sheep and the occasional snake.

In 2007, I started building my new home and since there were only very limited financial means, I worked day and night to get it done. During my construction, I met my soon-to-be wife Fatou.

In the meantime, our village developed rapidly as well after a new road was built that connected it to the larger town of Brikama. This meant that we received a lot of children due to the influx of additional families, but we had no school, which bothered me quite a lot.

A teacher, who lives in the area, gave me the idea to build a school for the children in the vicinity.
A similar attempt had been tried a few years ago by the local community without much success. But that gave me the advantage, that we had a plot of about 5000 QM2 with a decaying building. That was the place to start.

After a few sleepless nights and the approval of the village elders, I decided to build and organize the school on behalf of our village. Understandably, the joy in the village was huge. I had no idea how this endeavor should be financed, but I had faced the same problem before with my own home and succeeded nonetheless.

Now I tried to spread the word about my project through friends, relatives, acquaintances and colleagues and found more helping hands than I had ever imagined. Thanks to Facebook, the word spread even more.

As of this moment I can proudly say that all 142 schoolchildren have found a sponsoring family. That in itself is a good beginning and a strong foundation to build on.

After a very long waiting time, I finally got the permission by the Gambian Ministry of Education to open my school, the “Emma-Christine primary school LBS”.
It was named after my two daughters, hoping that they will continue this project in my name. My oldest daughter Christine, who lives in Germany, is a strong supporter for our project already.