By Olimatou Coker
Forward For You, a charitable organisation in The Gambia has recently held a sensitisation forum on mental health awareness at the American Corner along Kairaba Avenue.
Speaking at the forum, the founder of the organisation, Bakary Sonko, said the “Ministry of Health and Social Welfare as an organ of the government doesn’t have all the mandate, all the skills, and all the man power or resources to be able to address national health services even health per se; it can only do that through collaboration with other players that include Forward For You; being a student or a charitable organization.”
Ajie Fatou Gaye gave a brief background of the Organisation, saying it was formed in 2016 to support those with mental disabilities.
She said the forum was meant to talk about mental health in the Gambia, the misconceptions and the possible ways that they can intervene as concern people in the society in order to make a difference and to support those that really need their help.
She added that they have visited Tanka Tanka and “we saw areas that we can help. So we took it upon ourselves, not in only rebuilding but also giving out time and our love to them.”
She added that apart from raising awareness about mental health and supporting those that are mentally disabled, “we also have a programme that focuses on education. We support those in primary school, senior school and we even provide scholarships for students, we provide mentorship during the summer; we have a summer programme for almost 100 students. We support in all the ways we can socially, academically, professionally.”
“We are also working with the ministry of health and social welfare in eradicating stigma surrounding mental health in the Gambia and creating a supportive environment for all of them, as the government will take their stand. We as the individuals will also work hand in glove to create an environment where all people are celebrated in the Gambia,” she added.
Foday Jawula of Tanka Tanka said the organization has been providing so many things to the hospital.