There are several exceptional charity foundations and individuals who are devoting countless hours and Dalasis to improving the lives of others in The Gambia. The country has many problems that include poverty, lack of healthcare services and educational limitations. Despite the unique difficulties faced by Gambians, these charities and philanthropists work diligently towards raising the quality of life of the people.
HMD Charity Foundation, a non-profit international organisation established by young Gambians to support needy families across Africa is among the leading organisations in terms of providing sustainable support to needy Gambians. The charity has over the years built its reputation in changing the lives of many poor Gambians including street girls, widows, orphans and poor families.
Instead of the customary once-off donations, HMD is actively digging deep and giving back to needy communities to ensure sustainable growth and create genuine change.
Run by Gambian youth, HMD supports over 1000 families every Ramadan, builds over fifteen Mosques, constructed nine shelters for homeless families, supported over 30 families with a business package and helped three sisters get off the street and change their lives. The charity also has an orphanage with over 150 orphans.
It is estimated that over US$7 billion is given by philanthropists in Africa every year.
“It takes a remarkable person to devote their resources to others,” Saikou Balajo, HMD founder and executive director acknowledged those who sacrifice their little earnings to support others.
The charity started its Ramadan package in 2016 supporting fifteen families but that has since increased to 1011 families in 2022 and even more this year targeting the remotest areas across the country.
It has distributed D3,750,000 worth of food items during the month Ramadan, opens two Masjid worth D700,000 each in Tanji and Casamance, provided D150,000 business empowerment projects and constructed 20 boreholes and 30 wells, two shelters worth D300,000 each in Brufut and Kuntaya village and feed 750 families monthly. It has also provided food packages to 1,250 families, 164 Zakat Al-Fitr packs, 280 Fidyah/Kaffara packs, 11, 200 free iftar meals, Eid gift to 420 orphans and 145 goats for charity.
“Together, we have made a big difference in the lives of thousands around the world.
Something that started small in The Gambia is now touching lives globally. We pray that Allah grants our wishes and continues to bless all who donated or participated in the distributions,” Balajo said.
The charity has made several distributions last month but the one in Niani stands out as of the most touching giving the level of poverty in the communities they intervened.
Accompanied by the National Assembly member for Niani, Omar Jobe, the charity supported 100 families in the area.
Executive director Balajo said the Niani donation came following a survey done in the area by the charity which identified the most vulnerable families.
“We usually embark on a survey to look out for families that are more vulnerable before we support them. You can only know how vulnerable some of these families are when you visit them. We were shocked by the story of one of our beneficiaries in Niani who said he made a minimum of D600 per month and that is what he uses to take care of his family. Imagine under the difficult circumstances some of these families live,” he said.
Balajo recounted how the charity transformed the life of a widow and her ten children who depend on begging to feed themselves and pay rent.
“We supported her to start a business and within a few months she was able to complete the house her husband started before he passed away and moved there. This is a story I will never forget,” Balajo added.
The National Assembly member for Niani Constituency, Omar Jobe expressed sincere thanks and appreciation to HMD on behalf of his people for the support which said is highly appreciated.
Born in one of the poorest villages in Niani, hon Jobe recounted how he uses his salary to buy rice for over seven families in his village every month.
“I was born and brought up in this village – you have been to my compound and you can tell whether I am using my salary to enrich myself or not because if that was the case the shape of my compound would have looked different. So, this is just to tell you that I use the majority of my earnings to support the needy families in my community. Even yesterday when we were having dinner you didn’t realise it but there was a woman who came to the house and met us eating and rushed back. It was after we finished eating that I went to her house only to realise that she came to tell me that their rice finished. I had to buy her rice and I did that for many families on a monthly basis,” he said.
The charity thanked Jula Financial Services and Bureau De Change Ltd who donated D60,000 to 20 needy families, Yayeh Instant Services Ltd, AB Beautiful Blinds, Darboe Jula Estate and Yonna Forex Bureau for partnering them in this year’s Ramadan distribution.
“To our individual sponsors, we cannot name all of you but we are saying thank you. May Allah reward and continue to bless you,” Balajo said.