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City of Banjul
Friday, October 7, 2022

Jai-Sarr Sabally and ‘Books For Africa’ donate to Bakau Library

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“I am working with two youth groups as part of a programme called ‘Creating Readers Programme’ which is aimed at encouraging young people to pick up reading as a hobby as a way to develop their life. We are working with an organisation called ‘Books for Africa’ who were very generous to donate us a lot of books. We want to share some of those books with the Bakau community. I am glad we are here and we want to go all the way to Basse with this initiative. This is just one of our stops. We just finished a project in Serekunda School where we refurbished a library which was not being use. Yours [Bakau Library] is in use so we are just putting the books inside. We will be coming here from time to time to see how best we can work together to improve the situation of the library,” she said. 

Mrs Sarr-Sabally, who spent nine years in the United States, stressed the need for parents to inculcate in their children the culture of reading for them to fare well in life later.  “If you do not read, you do not get anywhere with your life, really. It could be Arabic, it could be English, it could be any language; even a novel and a story book can contribute immensely to your life. If we want our children to move on in life; to advance not only in academics but be creative and be able to take up personal initiative, they should be encouraged to enjoy reading but not just to be forced to read in school. All of the great leaders are readers. We have a motto: readers are leaders. That is what we want to inculcate. It is what we want to re-emphasise in our communities. 

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“This project, ‘Creating Readers Programme’, aims to take this, one community at a time, and we want to establish a library in every community in The Gambia, in every village and town. If kids want to read, lack of books should not stop them. If you are interested in learning, we want to create that opportunity; that safe haven where you can come in and read,” said Mrs Sarr-Sabally, herself a writer and the wife of the acclaimed writer and minister of presidential affairs Momodu Sabally.

In welcoming the Mr Sarr-Sabally and her team, Sheriff Bojang of the Bakau Youth Association for Community Welfare (Bycaw) thanked them for the generous donation of books. “This is a wonderful gift to the people of Bakau, especially the young ones. We were expecting a few boxes… but alas! Looking at some of the titles, the choice of the books is very appropriate and relevant… mathematics, science, English, technology and health. From the first day he became head of state of The Gambia, President Yahya Jammeh has put a very high premium on education, and relevant education for that matter. Your efforts are a great complement to that crusade. These books, which are new or in impeccable conditions, will be here for several decades and thousands of young people will use them as supplementary study materials,” Mr Bojang said. He further urged Mrs Sarr-Sabally and her team to help in refurbishing the only public library in the important coastal town. 

The presentation was attended by a representative of the community elders, members of Bycaw, APRC youths, and young people in the community. A short musical performance was held by the young Gambian singer DJ Kumbs.

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By Alagie Manneh

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