Spreading joy in Gambia

Vreugde verspreiden in Gambia

To kickstart the brand, we started a social mission to 'the smiling coast of Africa', also known as Gambia. We collected 166 gift boxes and invested locally in several charities. It was an incredible experience and made us even more determined to create sustainable development with our brand. Together we can certainly have a real impact.

Why we did it

Many brands donate a certain percentage of their turnover to a specific large charity and that is wonderful. However, at Bigger Picture Clothing we do not believe this is the way to go. Not 100% of the money ends up where it should and you as a customer will never be able to see the direct impact of your purchase. We strive to be as transparent as possible and actually show you who is supported and in what way by your purchase. To kickstart the brand and show this concept to you, we have started a project called 'Spreading joy in the Gambia'. This project has made us rethink life. Just seeing the impact a pair of socks can have from a first-person perspective makes us so determined to make this brand work. Together with you, we can establish the new world by spreading joy and inspiring others!

Bigger Picture Clothing donates to Gambia

What we did

We started by gathering 3 things needed for this project. First we collected empty shoe boxes, which we turned into gift boxes. Secondly, we collected school supplies, clothing, toys, sports accessories, care products, etc. to fill all the boxes. Ultimately, we started a crowdfunding campaign to pay transport costs and invest in local charities. We then partnered with two organizations that could help us with our project. 'Gambia For You' helped us with the transport of all the filled shoe boxes. In addition, 'Kans voor Gambia' made us contact with the Fankanta school in Gambia. In the end, we collected more than 165 shoe boxes and many other supplies. At the end of February 2021, our then CEO Freek traveled to the smiling coast of Africa to ensure that they end up where they belong. In addition, we have managed to invest on a small scale in some local charities. Since we had relatively little money, we couldn't do much, but we did the following:

  • In collaboration with Kans voor Gambia, we presented the director of the school with some money to pay the salaries of the teachers, as they could not pay their teachers for the whole year. Our CEO lived with a local Gambian family for two weeks and spent a lot of time with Omar Barrow, who also showed him around the country.
  • Since Omar recently lost his job due to Covid, we have been trying to set up a small guiding business for him so that he can guide tourists when they are welcome back in The Gambia. So if you ever visit Gambia, please feel free to contact us and we will put you in touch with Omar, the best guide in Gambia!
  • After living with Ishaka, Omar and Fatou's family for two weeks, I really felt part of the family and made friends for life. I have decided to give all our remaining money (12,000 Dalasi) to the family so that they can provide education for Sambu, Musa, Fams and Fatou Jr. for the next three years. can afford. We received a drawing from every child at school.
  • We delivered them to Kans voor Gambia, which now makes postcards from them, which are then sold. All money raised from the postcards is invested directly in the Fankanta school in Gambia.

How we did it

We created a brochure about this initiative and started distributing it to our friends and family on social media. The amount of response was overwhelming. In addition, many shoe retailers donated their empty shoe boxes and some companies donated € 100 for transport costs. After weeks of going door to door, we raised €1,000 for this project and words can't describe how it felt to have so many people supporting our project. We have provided all our supporters with multiple updates on the progress of our case. They could all follow exactly what we did, how we did it and could even see images of the impact. In this way we have been able to spread positivity and joy both in Gambia and in the Netherlands. We always strive to show you what your impact is and how it has a positive impact. That's how seriously we take the concept of 'transparency'.

Sustainable development

Because I did this project as a 22-year-old part-time student at the time and we didn't earn a single euro, it was very difficult to have an impact on a large scale. We raised about $1,000 and I personally added another $1,000.

With this money we were able to do the following:

  • Pay for teacher salaries and small investment costs for the school, to buy chairs, etc.
  • Set up a small guide company for our friend Omar, so if you need a guide in The Gambia, please feel free to contact us!
  • Give 12,000 Dalasi to the family of Ishaka, Omar & Fatou, so that they can bring Sambu, Musa, Fams & Fatou Jr. can send to school.
  • Collect drawings from the school that are now sold as postcards in the Netherlands. All money raised from the postcards is invested directly back into the Fankanta school in Gambia.
  • Give each child at school a gift box with school supplies, clothes, etc., so that they can have fun and have high-quality school supplies.

A year later... we came back, with help!

We came into contact with the Dutch Youtuber Frank van der Slot (also known as Slotta). We raised approximately €15,000 and invested in both local sports communities (10%) and education (90%). All our activities have been documented and published in a documentary on his YouTube channel. With over 250,000 subscribers, we have been able to reach many people and share our positive movement.