By Fatou Saho & Olimatou Coker
President Adama Barrow has recently presided over the launching of SOS Children’s Villages national strategy plan for 2023-2027 and YouthCan project in The Gambia.
The YouthCan Project is a global initiative that supports young people who have lost parental care or are at risk of losing it, on their journey of decent work and independent life.
Speaking at the launching, President Barrow said that his government will continue to make sure youth have opportunities to be optimally productive and self-reliant.
“The partnering of the Gambia government is very heartwarming for me to present and confirm that we have partnered for over 40 years. They have complemented the government’s efforts by supporting vulnerable children, young people and families to make them happy and helping them become self-reliant persons. It is widely known that the SOS Village provides essential services such as protection, education, health care, emergency relief and alternative care for children who have lost their parents or children who lacked parental care. They have supported the government in its desire to meet the national and global target in various ways. This has been achieved through the enactment of the children and youth friendly laws or incidents in the country.”
Omar Sohna, former SOS child, said he has been in SOS for 3 years and was supported through vocational training and capacity building until he is doing well for himself.
Sohna said he has 20 young people whom he is working with at his welding workshop in Kanifing and has adopted 5 kids as a way of giving back to the community.
“No one is a loser. I have been with SOS for 3 years and they have made an impact on my life,” he said.
He also urged the government, corporate partners and private institutions to support young people.
Jean Pierre Kouamin, National Director of SOS, thanked the president for his interest in what the SOS is doing and his interest in the wellbeing of young people in The Gambia.
“SOS is an organization that has been in existence and operational for 41 years. We put this strategy into consideration that children and young people are independent and positive agents of change in their families, in the communities and thrive to realize their potentials in the country by 2027. Our strategy targets 3 outcomes which is to program participants to enhance quality and diversify care with a focus on children and young people as agents of change in communities leading development initiatives.”