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Sunday, September 27, 2020

UK-based philanthropist relishes investing in Gambia

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By Omar Bah

Alison Gardon, the founder of Rock Base Charity Foundation has revealed her joy and satisfaction in investing in The Gambia after realising that the country is rich with human resources.
The Jamaican, UK-based said she had only come to the Gambia seventeen years for holidays, but due to the country’s peace and tranquility, she had to do something here, because it was destined.
“I didn’t have any intentions to start a foundation when I first visited. But due to some incidents that I came across, being a woman, and have had been involved in children matters back in UK, it made it easy for me to identify with the children and voluntarily decided to come-up with a helping hand,” she told The Standard in an exclusive interview in Brikama.

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She said the first she thought of was to set up an avenue where she could help shape the lives of underprivileged children and women, thereby giving them fair shot at life.
“I want to look at the various areas that I thought will make their life better and give them a freedom that comes with being able to have better knowledge of their rights. Because the more value that we see in ourselves the more we can benefit others and humanity. Love is the most powerful resource and weapon,” she added.

The UK-based philanthropist said in 2016 she stepped up her coming to the country and since then, she has been coming three times in a year all geared towards identifying the needs of Gambian children.
“When I came here for the first time I knew this is where I wanted to relocate. However coming back this year, being older I am looking at things in a different way,” she said.

She said given that her background is working with children, “I guess when I come to The Gambia, I would be able to assist women and children who are quite suppressed to have a voice.”
“In the new Gambia, it is highly important to educate our children and empower them to see their full potentials and try to eradicate early marriages so that women can have the opportunity to grow with skills that will help them realise their dreams,” she explained.

She said her foundation will target policy drivers to implement the needs of the people to the highest level, so that the voice of The Gambia will be heard, “because who knows it feels it, that is the only way we can make a change.”

“We will go round communities to listen to them and try to do our best to address their challenges at the best of our ability. Although I do not want to sound pro-women here, but I believe as the most vulnerable in society women need to be educated on their rights,” she added.
She said all this will involve lot of work but she has the patience, “Because I know I cannot change much in the UK, because there are lot of policies and procedures there. But, I am sure most of my plans would work in the Gambia,” she concluded.

The UK philanthropist and her foundation team visited GADHOH nursery and lower basic school for the deaf and dump in Brikama, SAAMANSANG technical training school, Kembujeh Village gardens, Madina, Gidda, and Kembujeh women groups as part of their factfinding mission.

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