Newsletter October 2012 - Gambia Trip and Timbuktu Update   

Once more a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has been helping Healing Hearts in the last 17 years! 

This is a short description from a trip in October 2012 to The Gambia, and how our projects are developing there:


The situation of the disabled in The Gambia is becoming more and more difficult: they get no support from the government and have mostly grown up relying on begging in front of hotels. Ebrima Joof, father of 5, was one of them. He has been disabled since his youth after having contracted polio (after being vaccinated...) This is not possible anymore, as the government is promoting The Gambia and beggars are not good for the image. The extended family is also falling apart, so for many like Ebrima, the situation is dire. His wife, who also has polio, inherited a piece of land and Healing Hearts decided to help them build a house there, in Babilon.

planning meeting
Planning on site with the builder                                
ebrima and children
Ebrima and 4 of his children, truly grateful!.


Ebrima Colley helps with the distribution of rice for the disabled. This time we were able to distribute 2350 kg as well as 2 wheelchairs to the disabled.



Ebrima Colley receiving a photograph of Maulana...



The Naqshbandi group led by Sheikh Sarge, meets monthly for Zikr in the beautiful garden of the house which Bubacarr guards. Most participants are very poor and walk for miles in their best clothes to get there. 

Zikr at Bubacarr's
Ladies' Zikr on the beach



Farato Naqshbandi-Tijani School:

One of the buildings of the school which we built in Farato 10 years ago, had completely collapsed in the extraordinary heavy rains this year. Interestingly enough it was the teachers' room/storage building which was by mistake built with cement, not with mud, as we had said! The mud building with the class rooms was still standing, but we decided to have a completely new building made, as the old one has class rooms which are far too small. The windows are also not big enough and the building was along a wall, making it impossible to get a cool draft through both windows. The old building will be used for accommodation for the teachers.

The new wudu area and refurbished toilets were ready, making it easier for the pupils to have wudu at all times!

ruined building
Building totally ruined by heavy rains

new toilet
New toilet and wudu Area


Tanji Naqshbandi-Tijani School:

The school in Tanji and its 120 students are thriving, but urgently need to repair their toilet, where rats are causing havoc. They were once more supported with teachers' salaries, books, stationery, praying mats, footballs, a new dustbin and sturdy tables and benches with steel legs!

smiling children
Happy welcoming Tanji Pupils

broken toilet
Toilet in dire need of repair



New Yundum ii:

The second well in New Yundum took many more months than usual to get ready. A big mistake had been made of paying for the pump before it was installed. It took roughly 20 visits to the pump deliverer and twice as many friendly threatening phone calls for poor Mr Ngum until all was done.  


Second well in New Yundum

New Yundum Well iii

New Yundum is a new settlement of thousands of people with no running water at all. The Major and his deputy have been very helpful with the building of the first two wells and show us a school which has no water. We work out the best place to put the well. It is always important to have wells at least 20-25 meters from a toilet, so that the water doesn't get contaminated.

This is where we'll build the well: Bismillah... Fatiha!



We decided to build a well in Babilon where Ebrima Joof's house is being built, as it also is a new settlement and has very little water. This well can also be used by the mosque next door. We completed the well with an iron lid to be shut at night to prevent any animals from falling into it. 

Babilon Well with new iron lid

Lamin Village:

The existing well in Lamin Village is merely a hole dug 15 meters into the ground and topped by a tyre without any cement or rings to support it. This construction could not hold during the strongest rainy season in many years and had collapsed. Serving hundreds of people as it does, we decide to have a new well built there a s a p.  
collapsed well in Lamin Village
planting coconut trees
Coconut tree planting in Kotu Craft Market

Kotu Craft Market:

Arafat was touched by the prevailing spirituality of the people in the Kotu Craft Market, who in spite of heavy polluted morals by tourists, are sticking by their prayers and Zikr. She decided to have some coconut trees planted in honour of her grandparents.


Rice Distribution:

6175 kg of rice were distributed in total during this trip to: the 37 disabled members of the GNPC (Gambian National Paralympic Committee), the Naqshbandi Zikr Group, Tanji School and Farato School. 


Timbuktu, Mali:

Since last year we have an ongoing project of trying to distribute a 50 kg bag of rice to each of the 36 Handicapped Ladies and the Traditional Healers of war-torn Timbuktu every 40 days. For the time being the situation is much better, the people are grateful that the salafis with their ungodly brutal disrespectful behaviour are gone and that people can once more live their traditional lives. But the war has left its traces: there is food rationing, no banks operate and many are still refugees in Bamako and have not returned to Timbuktu, because they are not convinced that the peace will hold. 

rice distribution
Rice distribution for the Handicapped Ladies of Timbuktu



And so it continues: the gap between the rich and the poor just continues to get wider...  
And for those of us who can, the desire to help also grows ...

Some of our big projects like building wells or schools, are one offs, but a lot of what we do involve regular salaries. It is a relief to be able to create jobs and not just hand out charity. 

This is very much an appeal for standing orders to those of you who are able to commit on a regular basis:

Bank: NatWest Temple Fortune Branch, London NW11 0BQ, accountholder: Healing Hearts, account no: 09659293, Branch Sort Code: 51-50-11,   BIC: NWBK GB 2L, IBAN: GB25 NWBK 5150 1109 6592 93

You can also send a cheque for 'Healing Hearts' to: 16 High Street, Butleigh BA6 8SU, UK

or donate through Paypal:  to this email address

For those of you who are taxpayers in the UK, please download the GiftAid Form on our website and send it to us, then we can claim 28% on top of what you donate from the government.

Wa salaama and thank you so much, al Shukrulillah!
May Allah bless you, protect you and guide you more and more, inshaAllah...