The measure is no doubt unequal; there are more extremely poor people than extremely rich people. There are people who have wealth in abundance and much more people who struggle to get their daily bread, and sometimes do not have one for a day.
In spite of the gulf, there’s a possibility of brotherhood ties binding the rich and the poor in harmonious relationship. This is more likely to happen when better-off people move out of their comfort zones to empathise with the poor and needy and voluntarily redistribute their wealth. In Gambia, Mr Momodou Turo Darboe personifies such few generous individuals.
For years, Mr Darboe and his Vision Development Foundation have been responding generously to causes that touch the lives of the people of not only The Gambia but even in Senegal, notably in the restive southern province of the Casamance where he maintains an office. During the month of Ramadan, he distributes essential food commodities such as sugar, fish, oil, iced water and cash to thousands of Muslims across The Gambia. During feasts, he distributes bulls and rams and hundreds of kilos of parceled meat to the needy. The latest of such largesse was to the Christian community in anticipation of the Yuletide season. At that presentation ceremony, he handed out cheques worth hundreds of thousands of dalasis to governmental and non-organisations organisations, mendicants and students from economically challenged families.
Momodou Turo Darboe has played a very open role in complementing government by rehabilitating vital access roads, building wells and helping rehabilitate mosques. The list of Mr Darboe and his foundation’s areas of intervention cannot be exhausted here.
Therefore, the recognition of his direct efforts by The Gambia News and Report weekly magazine is a move The Standard newspaper welcomes and applauds. As the magazine says in its justification, Momodou Turo has earned himself ‘a name and an indelible place in the annals of Gambian history as a philanthropist par excellence”. It is hoped that this award as ‘Man of the Year 2014’ which puts him in the ranks of prominent politicians, including presidents, imams, bishops, businessmen and world’s acclaimed experts in health and law, will encourage Mr Darboe to do more and indeed tick others in similar position to follow suit.
Sharing is a good thing, especially when the motivation is to help others to help themselves. While it has to be noted that philanthropy is not a one way street, as it allows philanthropists to broaden their networks, connect with influential people and enrich their world by meeting interesting people and accessing amazing communities, at the core of the work of philanthropy is to give without expecting any favours in return from the beneficiary. Some are inspired by their personal experiences and others are inspired by personal values. In the case of Momodou, it was a legacy bequeathed to him by his father and he has taken it higher levels.
The world over, like never before, governments are faced with unprecedented pressures on their budgets in the face of rising human needs amid population explosions. Natural resources are limited largely due to human greed. The cost of everything continues an upward spiral. Donors have become savvier and now require greater accountability from the charities to which they give. This means the services of philanthropists are more in demand than ever.]]>