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Saama Kairo Federation, ChildFund donate bicycles worth over D1.8m to children in WCR

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By Olimatou Coker

As part of its efforts to support children in education, most especially those that trek long distances to school on a daily basis, Saama Kairo Federation in  partnership with ChildFund The Gambia has Thursday donated 218 pedal bicycles worth D1.8 million to their sponsored and enrolled children who currently endure long distances to reach school.

This initiative aims to alleviate the transportation challenges faced by the students, enabling them to access education more easily while promoting physical activity and well-being.

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Sunkaru Jatta, the Manager of Saama Kairo Federation, said as an implementing partner of ChildFund The Gambia, Saama Kairo Federation seeks to help children experiencing deprivation, exclusion and vulnerability have the capacity to improve lives and the opportunity to become young adults, parents and leaders who bring lasting and positive change to their communities.

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“As a federation, we are being energised to accelerate our efforts in the education sector by the continued under performance of children at school especially in literacy and numeracy. Therefore, as part of our efforts to support and enhance learning in the West Coast Region, Saama Kairo and ChildFund The Gambia this time agreed to provide bicycles to children walking long distances to school with specific focus on girls. This purchase and distribution of bicycles form part of ChildFund’s contribution to the ongoing implementation of the Out-of-School Children project”.

He added that the bicycles are funded by ChildFund through its non-sponsorship program.

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He called on all relevant stakeholders to join the crusade by effectively playing their respective role. “We encourage the best use of the bicycles for the purpose they are being provided for by taking good care and maintaining a culture of maintenance”.

Babagalleh Jallow, the Deputy Governor of WCR, spoke on the importance of the donation, saying it will go a long way in not only eradicating lateness but also enhancing performance in schools.

FaBakary Fedara, finance officer of Saama Kairo Federation, said the intention is to ease the movement of children to and from school, thereby enhancing performance. “We all know some of our children live very far away from their school environments, and they trek long distances to go to school. And then this is really impacting on their performance and their education. So today, we are proud to present these bicycles to our communities that we serve”.

Sanaba Jawula, the Education Specialist at ChildFund, said Childfund is proud to be associated with all their local partners and they  will  continue to support them in the implementation of their activities. “For quite a long time, those  that have known Childfund since when it was known as CCF, education has been our niche. And we are proud to say that our efforts in the education sector are able to reach quite a number of children in this country. And today, most of those people are making differences in their individual lives, and the Gambia as a whole.”

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He pointed out that this  contribution is part of a broader project called ‘the Zero out of school project’ which seeks to ensure that about 67,000 children are enrolled in schools. “We are aware that education is free in The Gambia but the out-of-pocket expenses are huge and that becomes a major factor in hindering a lot of children from being in school. Part of the factors that are contributing to drop out is the distance that people travel to and from school. And as such, in this zero out of school project, ChildFund is committed to procure and distribute 3000 bicycles to support in the transportation of children.”

Awa Jarju, Regional NGO Affairs Officer, urged beneficiaries to make the best use of the donated bikes to ensure their sustainability while commending Saama Kairo and ChildFund The Gambia for complementing government’s efforts in the education sector.

Ebrima, a student, thanked the Federation and partners for the gesture while assuring them that the donated bicycles will be used for their rightful purpose.

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