By: Haruna Kuyateh
Action Aid International- the Gambia (AAITG) Juffureh Office Local Rights Programme (LRP 9) has on Sunday celebrated Child Fun Day on the Theme: ‘’Child Sponsorship Changes Lives’’.
The event attracted one hundred and forty (140) children drawn from Lower Basic Cycle Schools, cultural groups of Upper Nuimi in the North Bank Region.
Alagie Camara, Sponsorship Manager in AAITG described child sponsorship as crucial in making sure that children have equal rights to education. He also echoed the decentralization of the Child Fun Day in schools in 2024, as a process that facilitates child sponsorship from the United Kingdom (UK) and Italy
Mr. Camara, disclosed that over fifty percent (50%) of AAITG‘s funds are raised through Child Sponsorship and it requires profile collection, child messages and success stories from communities. The funds raised are also utilized to support communities through the Apexes and the Ecozones.
He furthered that organizing such an event for children was also very important because of the provision of school items such as books, shoes and other learning materials as part of the LRPs CS funding.
Saikou Darboe, Programme Manager in Juffureh Office expressed happiness for creating an enabling environment for the targeted beneficiaries (school children and teachers) to exhibit their diverse cultural performances and talents. He however, extended thanks and appreciation to the school administrations and parents for their utmost support to the programme implementation in a bid to improve social and economic development.
Mr. Darboe also promised that they would continue to provide necessary support to children and community projects to transform livelihoods as part of poverty reduction.
Cherno Saidy, President of Jimbana Bolong Eco Zone on behalf of communities and committees said the apex bodies have been enjoying cordial relationship with Action Aid Juffureh Office in promoting social justice and accountability. ‘’This is a day to honour the children who participate in child sponsorship work. It shows how valuable children are in ActionAid’s work”, he admired.
He however, pledged EcoZone Management support and cooperation in the implementation of development projects.
Lamin Manneh, alkalo of Bakalarr thanked Action Aid for its intervention in Upper Nuimi, noting that it contributed in changing social and economic status of vulnerable families. He called on the pupils to take their schooling very seriously and be disciplined.
Fatou Jallow ,Teacher Coordinator in Action Aid International Programme at SAMI TENDA Lower Basic School said the intervention of Action Aid has contributed greatly to enable children have equal rights to education. She added that all their sponsored pupils were provided with items such as shoes, bags as motivation, and encouraged the parents to send their children to school. And that the Child Sponsorship Fun Day is important as it contributes to changing lives.
Musukebba Jarjue Head Teacher of Bakalarr Lower Basic School appealed that there is need for more support to boost academic performance by sponsoring extra classes, noting that pupils’ performance at the National Assessment Text (NAT) is poor, as some parents are unable to pay fees for their children for extra classes.
She thanked teachers for their support and also called on Action Aid International to donate teaching materials and food nutritional supplementation.
Maimuna Jobe a pupil from Sami Tenda Lower Basic School and Muhammed Nyan Head Boy of Sare Madi Doboe Lower Basic School commended AAITG for the children’s sponsorship as it has been fruitful in children’s performances in schools with the availability of exercise books, pencils , school bags, shoes, core text books; Mathematics, English Language, and Integrated Studies.
The Fun Day was climaxed by traditional performances and music.