News & Events

January 11, 2014 – Packing and Sorting Party

On Saturday, January 11th we will be packing boxes full of books and educational supplies for shipment to The Gambia in January, 2014.
Please join us as we sort through clothing, books, and other donations for inclusion in boxes destined for village schools.
Dress warmly as the warehouse is open to the elements. Hot chocolate, coffee and assorted pastries will be on hand to nourish and keep us warm!!
Please RSVP by Thursday, January, 9th to Shelby at 206-660-5826 or
Looking forward to seeing you soon!!
For the Children,
Shelby Tarutis
Executive Director

Top-Rated Award from Great Nonprofits!


great nonprofitsCongratulations! GAMBIA HEALTH EDUCATION LIAISON PROJECT (GambiaHELP) has qualified for a 2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit award from Greatnonprofits. This is a great honor, given less than 10% of eligible nonprofits have received this distinction.
Thanks to our supporters, we are one of the first winners of a 2013 Top-Rated Award from GreatNonprofits! Read our great reviews and add your story!

Book Sorting Party Dec. 7th, 2013

On SATURDAY, Dec 7th, 2013 we will be having a

Hansen Brothers Moving & Storage
located on 10750 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98133

Please come to the back of the building.

TIME: 10AM – 1PM

Pizza will be served!


The best boxes for packing items are liquor boxes.

Packing takes place in an open warehouse so DRESS WARMLY.

We need many hands as the container ships at the end of December!

RSVP to Shelby Tarutis by December 5th! to 206-660-5826.



Gikoo ‘Hope” Benefit Concert for the Children of The Gambia, Nov. 24, 2013


Tickets $10 Advance   206-709-9442

Doors Open at 8pm
Presented by OPENHEART and


At The Barboza

925 E. Pike, Seattle, WA 98122

Featured Performances by:

Mickey Davis

(Little Hearts, Cali Giraffes)

Hearts Are Thugs

Rebels Rising

Whitney Monge’


Nancy Colton



Exclusive Limited Edition
T-Shirts Available
Only at this Show

T-Shirt Art by Eelus



West Africa Live October 19, 2013 at Town Hall Seattle

Africa Live Graphic copyYou are invited to


experience the drumming, dancing, music,
food and magic of West Africa
A Festival to Benefit Children in Africa.
WHERE: Town Hall Seattle 1119 8th Avenue, Seattle WA
WHEN: Saturday, October 19th, 6:30pm

Featuring performances by:

Gansango Music & Dance Company
Senegalese percussionist Thione Diop
Kora masters Kane Mathis & Sean Gaskell
Mandinka drummers Modibo Traore and Bob Thompson of “Wulibaa”

More on our great performers

For more information and to purchase tickets

Eventbrite - West Africa Live

You can also buy meal tickets in advance to guarantee
the plate of your choice

Proceeds from this event will go to the children in the village of Kerewan in The Gambia. We will be expanding a nursery school and developing a garden to supplement the children’s diet. Data indicates that this village has too few children attending school and many suffering from malnutrition. The community identified this project and we have come on board to assist them. The community is contributing 25% of the project costs as well.

Special Thanks to our Sponsors: Car Tender, Summit Law Group, Stanford, Munko and Co., P.L.L.C., Tarutis and Brunstrom, PS.


2013-09-28 ganzago ganzago2
Gansango Music & Dance draws on the stunning talent of a multicultural group of international dancers and musicians presenting traditional and contemporary dance and music from West Africa. The company is directed by Etienne Cakpo, originally from Benin and now a teacher and choreographer based in Seattle.
thionediop_2-1 Thione Diop, a percussionist from Senegal, West Africa, and his band Yeke Yeke is widely recognized for his powerfully expressive Djembe performances. He is descended from an ancestral line of Senegalese griot drummers – traditional musical storytellers – and is a master of the djembe, sabar, tama, and djun djun. thionediop_10
Performing on the 21-string Mandinka harp, Kane Mathis renders compelling interpretations of  West African kora music, the traditional medium of Gambian griots or historical poets. Years of study with masters in The Gambia have given Mathis a rare opportunity to share this tradition with other cultures. Over the past 10 years, his performances have earned him recognition by the Gambian president, the Gambian minister of culture, national television and radio in The Gambia.  kane mathis 2 crop
Seattle-based kora player Sean Gaskell has toured throughout the United States, and been featured at numerous music festivals in The Gambia and Senegal. He released his first solo album “Kora Music of West Africa” in 2012.  sean-gaskell crop

Modibo Traore and Bob Thompson of “Wulibaa” perform Mandinka and Jola rhythms and songs from The Gambia and Senegal. Traore, a drummer, singer, and dancer from Casamance, Senegal, specializes in the musical styles of the Mandinka and Jola ethnic groups. Thompson is a Seattle-based drummer who studies Mandinka drumming and singing.



Seattle Foundation Give Big 2013

GiveBIG2013_color_date smThanks to all for your generous support of GambiaHELP through Seattle Foundations’ GiveBig in May 2013.  We made almost $4000 from this event!  The donations from GiveBig will go toward the establishment of a nursery school with a nutritional supplementation program in the village of Kerewan.  This is a Gambian village where the children are under-enrolled in school and who have been reported to be suffering from stunted growth due to malnutrition. These donations enable us to work on a very positive health intervention!

Thanks again for all your support!

GambiaHELP Equips Banjulinding Health Center

The Daily Observer – Moving Forward with The Gambia featured an article on GambiaHELP in April, 2013.

The Gambia Health, Education and Liaison Project (Gambia HELP), a charitable organization that seeks to enable Gambian communities improve their health, and education and, to build a sustainable economy and environment, has over the weekend equipped the Banjulinding Health Centre with some office and medical stuffs.


Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Yahya Bah, the Imam of Banjulinding, expressed delight and profound gratitude to Gambia HELP for the donation, noting that the materials came at a time when they were much needed. He informed that the Banjulinding Health Centre is the major health post in the locality and that about 33 communities in the neighbourhood benefit from its services, yet the centre is seriously lacking equipment and medication.

Read the entire article

GambiaHELP Commendation from Books for Africa


Books for Africa is an organization dedicated to ending the “Book Famine” in Africa.  GambiaHELP received recognition from them for our assistance in making this dream a reality.

GambiaHELP has shipped more than 500,000 books to The Gambia over the past 12 years.

In part their letter stated:

Dear Shelby:

You know that being able to enjoy a novel, study a textbook or access a library is not possible in many communities across Africa.  By mobilizing funding to send a container of books you have helped get those books into the hands of African children and onto the shelves of many village libraries.

Books For Africa would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge your dedication with the enclosed certificate.  Thank you so much for your part in empowering the next generation of Gambian parents, teachers, business people and leaders!



GambiaHELP Executive Director Speaks Out

By Dawda Faye – Reprinted from
The Point – a Gambian Newspaper April, 2012

The executive director  of Gambia Health Education Liaison Project (GambiaHELP), MPH Shelby C. Tarutis, recently granted an interview to The Point on  the intervention of her project in the country.


According to her, they have been working in The Gambia for 13 years in education and health.  

She said they are based in Seattle, Washington, and are composed mainly of volunteers. The project is a
humanitarian charity for women and children, especially for those living in the rural area.

They also focus primarily on needy children and orphans, Ms. Tarutis said,  noting that this year they have paid school fees for 55 orphans  to the tune of D70,000 at the primary, middle and senior secondary school level


“The past 13 years we provided 16 containers with medical and education materials to all regions in The Gambia,” she pointed out.

According to her, in the 1980s she was posted as a peace corps volunteer in Dankunku as health educator and nutritionist.

They have so far built a skills centre, schools, and libraries and have been supporting women projects in the country, she said.

They have also provided  support to such places and institutions as Kudang, Jappieh, Sambang, Dankunku, Sitahurma, Sofanyama, Banjulinding, Bonto, Nyaye Sanjul, SOS Children Village and SBEC International.

Shelby C. Tarutis was born in Seattle, Washington, USA and attended Evergreen State College earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry.  She later obtained a Masters of Public Health degree from the University of Washington specializing in Health Services.