help with nursing study

support Sangmarie Gomez in his nursing training

Thank you for participating in a miracle!

Sangmarie's community health nursing training is a miracle. Why? Among many other miracles, it's a miracle that he was accepted into the Mansakonko School of Community Health Nursing even though he couldn't pay his fees up front!

Sangmarie is an inspiring young leader who has a passion to serve. To read the amazing story of how Sangmarie and I, maddy schafer, met, and how I made what felt like an insane decision to raise funds to help him, see Sangmarie Nursing in Facebook and read his story in the pinned post at the top of the page. Or watch Sangmarie tell his story with Gervais Wright on Share Your Light Sunday

In 2020 Sangmarie is 26 and as the head of his family he's responsible for five other people: two sisters and a three nephews and nieces who would otherwise be orphans. He loves them like they are his own.

At October 2020 prices it costs around NZ$800 (US$535) to keep Sangmarie and his family running for a month. This covers food, rent, a little for transport, and keeping him connected via the internet which is essential for his schooling, never mind keeping you up to date! Here are the details of Sang's monthly budget:

  • Food for an average 30 day month: NZ$460 (US$308)
  • Brikama family home rent: NZ$105 (US$70)
  • Mansakonko student room rent: NZ$70 (US$47)
  • Mansakonko utilities: NZ$70 (US$47)
  • Internet subscription: NZ$70 (US$47)
  • Transport: NZ$25 (US$17)

And then there's the NZ$785 (US$525) rent arrears which accrued during the pandemic, and Sang's second year school fees, which are 1,500 Euros (US$1,777). We've managed to pay 85 Euros of the fees but we still have a long way to go. Jump down for more information about how I handle Sangmarie's donations.

Want to be one of Sangmarie's Angels?

  • Attention New Zealanders! You can set up an Automatic Payment into the account I hold for Sangmarie at Kiwibank, which incurs no fees. Email me for account details.

  • Not in New Zealand? If you would like to support Sangmarie regularly, you can set up an account with Transferwise. Once that's done the process to send funds is similar to PayPal, except this service incurs minimal fees. It is available in most currencies. Caveat: For some people setting this up is easy, and for others it seems to be a mission. So it's worth trying, and if it flows easily, please do it. if not, please use PayPal as below.

  • Not able to use Transferwise? PayPal is fast and convenient but the fees are higher (particularly for small payments) so less of your gift actually gets to Sangmarie. But if that's what you can do, thank you and bless you!

The PayPal links below allow you to set up a regular monthly payments for:

Set up a regular PayPal donation for FOOD:

Or contact me to set up a different monthly donation

Back to Angel details

Set up a regular PayPal donation for UTILITIES:

Back to Angel details

Set up a regular PayPal donation for RENT:

Back to Angel details

Make a one-off PayPal donation

Or copy this email address and then
login to PayPal to send your own amount of New Zealand dollars

Back to Angel details


Money transparency - how we manage donations

How we collect donations

I have an account at Kiwibank in my own name, which has a separate suffix dedicated to Sangmarie's fundraising. I am careful to keep all funds separate.

I have a Transferwise account in my own name, as I am not able to set up an account for anyone else. All payments received into this account for Sangmarie are converted to New Zealand dollars if necessary, and then paid into the separate account I hold for Sangmarie at Kiwibank.

I set up a separate PayPal account just for Sangmarie's fundraising and it is not used for anything else. The email address for this PayPal account is

Note that it is not possible to withdraw money from a Gambian PayPal account to a Gambian bank account. Money in Gambian PayPal accounts can ONLY be used for shopping online which is no use to us. Sangmarie must buy his supplies locally.

How we send money to Sangmarie

It's taken me ages to work out the most cost effective way to send money Sangmarie. It's a bit of work but this is how we do it now:

  1. About a week in advance of Sangmarie receiving funds I withdraw funds from PayPal and TransferWise and deposit them to Sang's Kiwibank account
  2. When the funds are in Kiwibank I set up a transaction from New Zealand dollars to Gambian Dalasi through XE Transfer
  3. The funds arrive in Sangmarie's Dalasi account in the Gambia, and then he can withdraw them

We're still working out how long all this takes but a week is my best estimate at the moment.

Before I worked this out we had to use Western Union to send funds to Sangmarie. Now we only use WU if we have to because the service is very expensive. Here's how it works:

  1. I send New Zealand dollars to Sangmarie via Western Union who charge fees to convert them to Gambian Dalasi and complete the transaction; these fees are deducted from the total New Zealand dollars available and seem to equate to a bit more than 13 percent of the total sent (!)
  2. Western Union bills the full cost of the transaction to my New Zealand credit card
  3. I move available funds from PayPal into a New Zealand bank account used only for Sangmarie's fundraising
  4. I withdraw the funds from the New Zealand bank account and pay off my credit card

I have checked with my accountant and I can receive donations and send them to Sangmarie without incurring tax liability.

Why I am sure Sangmarie will use your money well

I have watched Sangmarie handling money since late 2018. He is responsible and intelligent with it, even and especially when there are conflicting demands. I was certain in our knowledge of this, but decided to ask him to put it in writing as well. Here is a a photograph of his signed letter:

Sangmarie's signed letter of intent

I also wanted the Headmaster of the school to have a copy of the letter, because he has shown great faith in Sangmarie. Here you can see Sangmarie with two copies of his letter, one for his records, and one for the Headmaster, Mr Dodou Sanyang.

Sangmarie Gomez with his signed letters of financial intent


If you have any questions or concerns about how your donation is handled please message me on the Sponsoring Sangmarie Gomez page on Facebook.