Established in 1997, The Castellan African Trust (C.A.T.) was started by a UK family on holiday in The Gambia. Initially this was on a personal basis but soon friends, relatives and work colleagues in the UK joined in and the Castellan project took off.
Making sure that funds arrive in Africa and reach beneficiaries without waste or misappropriation is a core belief of all CATs sponsors, trustees and volunteers. CAT employ no staff, just volunteers. Sponsors, members and guests are taken to the villages on a regular basis to monitor activities. This, and what we do, is what makes CAT attractive to potential donors suffering from UK “charity fatigue”.
The charity has funded the education of well over 200 children many of whom have found jobs or are now in further education. Although access to education was CAT’s first priority it became clear that after paying school fees and helping families there were surplus funds and work began to help improve village life. Fund-raising activity in the UK began for special events like bringing children back to the U.K. for medical treatment and funding village infrastructure projects, creating jobs and relieving poverty.
Almost as soon as CAT began work in rural Africa both adults and children were asking for help with medical problems that the stretched local resources could not cope with. Just the sheer cost of travel to the main hospital, 100 miles away, is usually beyond their means, (less than £2.00) let alone the cost of treatment drugs etc.
Castellan has a team of health professionals who are now working with Health Professionals in The Gambia to implement the training of Traditional Birthing Attendants (TBAs) Castellan also funds a program to fund Midwifery students through to qualification by scholarship. This has been complimentary to Gambia’s efforts to meet their U.N. 2000 Millennium Development Goals.