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

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.

It costs at least US$465 to keep Sangmarie and his family running for a month. In the context of COVID-19 this covers food, rent and keeping him connected via the internet, which is essential for his schooling. Then there's the question of school fees, which are 1,500 Euros each year.

Two ways to help

  1. Regular monthly support

  2. One-off donation.

Be a monthly Abundant, Infinite, Limitless Angel for Sangmarie

Can you contribute 50 cents, a dollar, or a dollar-fifty a day to help Sangmarie eat and feed his family while he studies?

That’s US$15, US$30 or US$45 per month, for four months. (After that I'll ask you if you'd like to continue.)

Wondering why four months?

Most people can get their head around making a new payment for four months. You can try it out and see how you find it. At the end of the four months I will ask if you're willing to continue, and whatever you decide we will be very grateful.

Set up a regular PayPal donation

Or contact me on Facebook to set up a different monthly donation

Make a one-off PayPal donation

Or copy this email address - - and
login to PayPal to send your own amount



Money transparency - how we manage donations

How we collect donations

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.

Why I use Western Union to send money to Sangmarie

It's expensive to send money to The Gambia. I spent hours looking for a cost effective way and finally came to the conclusion there isn't one. At the time the best option was (and remains) Western Union. This is how it works:

  • 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
  • Western Union bills the full cost of the transaction to my New Zealand credit card
  • I move available funds from PayPal into a New Zealand bank account used only for Sangmarie's fundraising
  • I withdraw the funds from the New Zealand bank account and pay off my credit card
  • I have checked with my accountant to be sure I can do this without incurring tax liability.

I realise this payment method is less than elegant, however it is what I was able to arrange with the time and resources available.

How much it costs to send money to Sangmarie

Western Union charges NZ$4 to send up to NZ$100, and $6 for larger amounts. They do take about ten percent of the funds through the exchange rate they use for currency conversion.

However the transaction is completed in seconds and the total cost of the transaction is known before I send. For smaller amounts, even given the high FX cost this is still the best way to send money.

We use Transferwise or HiFX to send larger amounts. Because neither of these can deposit directly into a bank in the Gambia (nobody can), one intermediary bank fee is incurred which is at least US$25. The transaction also takes a number of days to go through. Hence it's best to use Western Union for amounts up to US$300.

If I send money via bank to bank transfer the cost is higher again because there are multiple bank fees. The transaction takes 3-7 days to complete, and the final cost is not known until after it's complete. This makes sending money harder to administer and I need to keep it simple.

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.