By Aminata Ceesay
Salimatou Foundation for Education has on Saturday awarded scholarship package to six school children at Sotino Nursery in Latrikunda Sabiji.
According to Salimatou Fatty, the founder of SaFE, the scholarship package is awarded to the less privilege school children that were found in the streets a year ago by the SaFE and enrolled them to school.
She said: “We have realized that many children in the Gambia do not have access to school. Despite the fact that education is free, we see children in the street selling and we said to ourselves ‘why are they not in school’ and we thought that these children have to been in school.
“One of the reasons why most children do not have access to school is the issue of poverty and this is why we deem it necessary to come up with this sponsorship program.
“This scholarship package will enable them to have the resources necessary in order to gain quality education. They will also benefit from our free weekend classes; we hope that with this scholarship students will be able to focus because they are not lacking any learning material and we have even provided cash for their lunch to school.”
She urged the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education to support civil society organizations to build partnership and provide quality education for every child in the Gambia.
Also speaking Muhammed Kebbeh, SaFE program coordinator, said: “Last year we decided to do street walk, we walked around Latrikunda up to Westfield to Serrekunda market just to see children who supposed to be in school at that time around ten o’clock but they were in the streets either selling or playing with their friends. So we communicated with these children and asked them why they are not in school. Majority of them highlighted poverty as a constraint. When we communicated with their parents, they told us they cannot afford learning materials for their children.
“From there we started writing to individual philanthropists and organizations who can help. Last year we managed to help fifteen children and this year we are signing contract with the parents of the children benefiting from this scholarship package.”
Modou Amar, a parent to one of the beneficiaries, expressed gratitude to SaFE for assisting them in providing school learning materials to their children, adding that this gesture will help their children perform in school.