By Omar Bah
One of The Gambia’s leading philanthropists, Momodou Turo Darboe, will give out a reported 130,000 bags of rice and sugar to people in The Gambia in this month of Ramadan.
Beneficiaries will include needy people, members of the armed and security services, and regional and municipal authorities.
Mr Darboe, a businessman, has been holding this massive Ramadan give-away for many years through his NGO, Vision Development Foundation.
According to a source close to the foundation, the hardships brought about by the coronavirus restrictions, necessitated the upscaling of the giveaways this year.
As part of the ongoing distributions, 5,450 bags of sugar were given out on Saturday to the Banjul and Kanifing municipal heads, regional governors and armed and security services as well as the National Assembly.
Saikou Fofana, the public relations officer of the foundation stressed that VDF is a non-governmental organisation determined to help needy Gambians and institutions to complement government’s efforts in national development.
“We are happy that this year, due to the Covid-19 many individuals and organisations are coming out to assist needy Gambians,” he added.
VDF chief executive officer, Lamin Fatajo, said because of the Covid-19 pandemic the foundation is prioritising frontline workers like the members of the country’s security forces to ensure that they have the peace of mind to focus on safeguarding Gambians during this crucial time.
“We hope the sugar will reach those who deserve it the most, the needy,” he said.
Deputy Governor Musa Susso who received the bags donated to West Coast Region through the Governor’s Office, expressed his gratitude to Mr Darboe for his “help to mankind” and being in this period of a flu pandemic.
He added: “Gambians must put all their differences aside and fight the Covid-19 as a common existentialist enemy. This global monster is wreaking so much havoc on the world.It nearly brought the world economy to a standstill and caused unprecedented catastrophe. Therefore we must collectively fight to emerge victorious, and helping people with the means of sustenance is one of the battles in the war and that is what Momodou Turo Darboe and his NGO, Vision Development Foundation, are doing,” he said.
The mayor of the Kanifing municipality, Talib Bensouda, also expressed his appreciation, on behalf of the residents of KM to VDF and its founder and financier Mr Darboe.
“This is not a surprise. It is not the first time Mr Darboe has been rendering such help to underprivileged people in this country. This donation could not have come at a better time. I can only pray for the continued wellbeing of Vision Development Foundation and its founder. I am taking this opportunity to urge Gambians to take all precautionary measures given by the WHO as we can only defeat Covid-19 if we stand together.”
Lamin Bah, a representative of the Banjul mayor, thanked Mr Darboe and assured the foundation that the donated sugar will be given to the needy Banjulians.
Pateh Sowe, commissioner of operations at Police Headquarters, thanked Mr Darboe and VDF on behalf of the armed and security services for the donations.