School in Cansamange, Guinea-Bissau

Cansamange is a small rural village in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, with a population of ~500. There is no school in the village or anywhere in the local area.

Last year, a young man in the village, from my host family when I lived there as a Peace Corps Volunteer 20 years ago, asked for my help in building a school. I talked to my family, and with their generosity we raised enough funds so that the village could build a permanent school, which was finished in June 2017. That phase of the project completed the shell of the building (here shown in the last week of construction): 

This GoFundMe campaign will pay for cement to cover the packed dirt floor, doors and windows, and desks and chairs for the students.  As it's a larger amount to be raised, I am widening the pool of people I reach out to in the hopes that we can cover the full amount needed.

Interior of one room currently:

Villagers are largely subsistence farmers who grow rice, millet and vegetables which need to sustain their families throughout the year. Once a year they can sell cashews, and some people run micro-enterprises on the side - these are the only sources of cash to supplement the subsistence farming economy.

The village does not have electricity or running water; the nearest paved road (where people can catch transport to a larger city) is a 45-minute bike ride from the village. 

The government of Guinea-Bissau mandates public education for all children, but does not have the resources to provide that education, especially for children living in remote areas. This means many people  do not have access to even basic primary education, let alone secondary education or higher. 

In Cansamange, there are 138 students whose families were able to pay a small monthly fee to a teacher the village hired last year who taught them in a makeshift palm structure (below), a few hours a day, for a few months between the seasons of intense agricultural work. There are more school-age students in the village who were not able to afford even that - perhaps upwards of 200.

I lived in Cansamange for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer about 20 years ago. One of the sons of my host family - Adul Balde (aka Sika) - is overseeing this project. He is responsible for the budget, hiring labor, coordinating materials and transport, figuring out logistics, and liasing with the villagers and families about the school.  Sika is a very capable, motivated young man who has the best interests of his village at heart, and I have the highest confidence in his ability to deploy these funds well and see this project through to completion.

Budget for Phase Two:

Mason work........285.00
Transportation of materials........380.00
Chairs and Desks........1,710.00
Grand Total........3,485.55

Please help us keep those cows out of the school and get the students some chairs and desks! Gifts of ANY amount will go a long way in this project and will impact literally hundreds of lives.

We all know that strengthening capacity anywhere in the world helps all of us, no matter how far away we may be. When people have access to education and other basic resources, they have the opportunity to create a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities. This is the recipe for a more peaceful, equitable world. Thank you for your help!


  • Christina McMahon
    • $50 
    • 6 yrs
  • Jenn Carlino
    • $100 (Offline)
    • 6 yrs
  • Anne-Marie McMahon
    • $250 (Offline)
    • 6 yrs
  • Tom McMahon
    • $1,000 (Offline)
    • 6 yrs
  • Pat McMahon
    • $1,000 (Offline)
    • 6 yrs


Anne-Marie McMahon
Mohnton, PA

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