Saturday, December 3

SAY NO TO NEONATICIDE

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Say no to neonaticide: which is the killing of a new born within twenty four hours after birth or to abandon and let it die at isolated places .

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Before killing your new born baby you have an option to save that child’s life by bringing the baby to our humanitarian foundation situated at Kololi off Senegambia highway, known as “Tallibu Bess”.

ABOUT US:

Our Humanitarian Foundation is called: Alwar Mam Massamba Humanitarian Foundation which is a charitable Foundation, working in the field of human rights, equality, Justice, addressing social inequities, advocating vulnerable women rights, youths and the rights of the child with special needs.

Currently, we are giving special attention to the following thematic areas:

(a) Orphans and children with special needs:

  1. Education
  2. To facilitate access for special needs children and new born babies to key essential services
  3. Support alternative family based care for special need children.

Our short term development goal and area of intervention is geared towards denouncing Neonaticide, in its strongest possible terms and to offer solution against this gross violation of human rights; which is the killing of a new born within 24 hours or 72 hours after birth as in most cases by the mother, or to abandon the baby and let it die at isolated places.

It suffices to say that every year thousands of women worldwide commit neonaticide, which is different from infanticide that is the killing of a child within a year.

Our Foundation is appealing to young mothers and teenagers, who are pregnant and would try to hide the pregnancy by not giving birth in a hospital, with the intention of killing the baby when it is born. It has been reported with great concern that the pushing factors for these women and teenagers are in some cases, denial of such pregnancy, being afraid of their parents, peer pressure, harassment and shaming, hostile reaction from loved ones, teachers and friends, insecurity, denial of pregnancy by partner or simply put lack of plans.

In this vein we are advising young mothers and teenagers contemplating of killing their newborn or to abandon them after giving birth, to think twice and make use of the opportunity extended to them :-

  1. They are given the option that instead of killing or abandon their newborn they can bring them to our Foundation Centre at Kololi off Senegambia Talli Bu Bess
  2. where they will be given the necessary attention, love, and caring services for their general wellbeing.

Who are we? And why should you trust us with such responsibility.

Our members (ALwar Mam Massamba Humanitarian Foundation) are committed and dedicated to this noble cause and some have extensive knowledge and expertise with a proven track record of assisting the vulnerable . Added to which the CEO Isatou Alwar Graham rose to prominence in 2006 as the former Director of the Human Rights Unit, Office of The Ombudsman. In May 2006 a complaint was lodged at the Human Rights Unit Office of The Ombudsman by vulnerable women confined in wheel chairs, who loss mobility from the waist downwards.

? Their bone of contention was allegations of discrimination and continuous harassment, arrest and detention by security personnel with the TDA .

? They alleged that whenever they attempt to access the beach and hotels, around The Tourism Development Area (TDA) , in a bid to seek assistance and financial aid from European tourist, they would be harassed , arrested and detained by security personnel .

? Furthermore they complained of discriminatory practice meted out against them, by certain government departments,

? That for nearly fifteen years their applications for licence to operate Kiosk stalls within the Senegambia Craft market and other tourist craft markets within the TDA have been refused.

? Furthermore security personnel working at specific government departments would deny them entry to such offices

? That their request to have dialogue with some senior staff at Tourism would fall on deaf ears.

? That despite their physical challenges they refused to depend on begging.

Upon receiving their complaint the former Director of the Human Rights Unit, Isatou Alwar Graham, with the support of the then Ag. Ombudsman Mr. Junaidi Jallow of blessed memory and Principal Investigator Mr. Sallah Ndire, Isatou , launched a campaign advocating for the rights of these vulnerable women to own and operate kiosk stalls at lucrative tourist craft markets with the Tourism Development Area (TDA). Her tireless efforts culminated to the publication of booklets and flyers Entitle: Gender Imbalances and Rights of Vulnerable Women:

  1. Which poignantly captured the fundamental rights of vulnerable women confined in wheel chair to equal treatment.
  2. that any form of discrimination preventing these vulnerable women to operate kiosk stalls on any ground, impairs their enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights,
  3. Further the right to development and adequate standard of living is inseparable from the inherent dignity of the human person and indispensable to the enjoyment of other human rights.
  4. That traditional roles and perception of physically challenged women as beggars tend to increase their vulnerability,
  5. Resulting to their lack of opportunity in social, economic and cultural sphere of activity.

For effective sensitization the booklets, leaflets, and flyers were widely circulated to targeted groups namely: security personnel, parliamentarians, vendors and members of wider society .

Landmark success

In a nutshell after series of meetings with security personnel, members of the Gambia Tourism Board, Gambia Tourism Authority, and President of The Senegambia Craft Market Association, Gambia Juice Sellers Association, and Ministry of Tourism. The aggrieved vulnerable women were finally granted permission to fulfill their dreams by operating kiosk stall at Senegambia Craft Market and Novotell Craft Market respectively. This golden opportunity gave them the competitive edge to :-

  1. Engage in buying and selling
  2. befriend western tourist who have helped them to access decent living accommodation
  3. Have their children enrolled at private schools,
  4. As successful petty traders they have became financially stronger
  5. their economic status quo remains sustainable from 2007 to date

CONCLUSION

Until recently Isatou Alwar Graham was the Curator of Intestate Estates for The Gambia and Deputy Solicitor General Ministry of Justice , she brought in empathy and stability in the work of the Curator of Intestate Estates, in her day to day relation with members from wider society . Paying special attention to vulnerable orphans, widows, children and beneficiaries as outlined below:-

  1. Neglected children prone to domestic violence and sexual abuse
  2. Severely malnourished and barefooted children not attending school.
  3. Children whose mothers were depressed and disillusion
  4. Children expose to violence and abuse
  5. Isatou used to collaborate with the Department of Social Welfare in particularly Mrs Fanat Bai Secka for her intervention and to find a suitable accommodation for such children and their parent, have them enlist at schools and subsequently secured a place for them at the SOS Children Village
  6. Isatou have successfully prevented early age marriage affecting orphan girls between 12 years to 15 years by threatening the family with a court action, she would further ensure that these orphan girls would continue their schooling without hindrance.
  7. There are instances when Isatou, would assist neglected children living in horrible conditions by identifying suitable and care loving families to take them in and attend to their needs.
  8. Find sponsors for high school drop outs to continue their high school education

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