AVSSP in Easter 2017 visited The Gambia to undertake some charitable work with local schools, football clubs and communities. Whilst we were in the country we met some wonderful people who were incredibly resillient and resourceful.
As we arrived back in the UK we began to make plans for the forthcoming academic year, one of the jobs we needed to do were to re-order of the medals we distribute to children at our events for the academic year 2017/18. Whilst we were in The Gambia we met a very talented man by the name of Sheik Cham or Sandman as he's known.
We wanted something a unique and also to help out the community that had been so kind to us on our travels. We discussed our options with Sandman, working out the detail of what sizes we needed, the shapes, etc and he sent some photos through via whatsapp for us to discuss back in the UK. We decided on having a new logo made which includes the colours of The Gambian national flag. We were also looking to have something for our younger students and asked him if he could then produce Ozzy medals.
On each of the Sandman's medals there is a magnet that will allow you to put your medals on to the fridge or radiator so that you can show these off to people!
Sandman hand made over 700 medals for AVSSP! This should cover us for the academic year and support him and his family for the drop in tourism through their rainy season. He has been incredibly thankful for our support and the trust we had in him to create these for us. When you consider that the average daily salary in The Gambia is £1 and each medal we paid was £1 it will support him and his business to grow.
So here is how he makes the medals.
First he starts with the backing. This is a firm card/chipboard that he cuts to size and files down.
He then connects the loop that holds the ribbon in place and this is secured with tape. The magnets are then glued in to place and the reverse of the medal is painted in black.
Next stage is the glue, each piece is carefully glued to allow just enough sand to stick.The sand then needs time to dry (quite easy as it's usually 37 degrees!) before he can begin to mark out his drawing.
He'll use a fine pen to create the outline of the shape he wants, such as the example of Ozzy below. Once he is happy with this he will then proceed to start colouring in the sections with paint.
Once all of this is done he then needs to place the ribbon through the loop, wrap it up and then send it to us in the UK. Pretty impressive work. So impressive we are looking to get him to make all of our trophies for future years if we can get a design that will work.
Dont forget all of this is done in his 'factory' which is a tin shack with some boards showing his products and a couple of tables and chairs. Oh any no electricity!
You can follow Sandman via facebook on Sheikh's Art page.
If you would like to know how you can help raise funds to support then please get in touch!
Have you seen the holiday camps running in our 'camps' section of the website? Funds raised through these support us to help more people in Amber Valley and The Gambia.