By Olimatou Coker
The UK Jarra Association, a charitable organisation based in the United Kingdom, on Monday conducted a site visit of its projects in the Lower River Region.
The delegation visited Soma lower and upper basic schools, Soma District Hospital, Pakalinding Junior Secondary School, Bureng junior and senior secondary schools, Jassong Primary School and Jappineh Upper Basic School.
Speaking to The Standard at one of the sites, Ateeq Khan, member of Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), said they have partnered with the UK Jarra Association because they want to educate and develop the region.
“We are living in a world of technology and children need to be educated in the area science and technology to develop themselves, he noted.
He explained that the UK Jarra Association requested funding from the ICD and it was endorsed. “As at now, we have funded one school in Soma and we are planning to make the school a model school and once it’s done, we hope to go on to fund others,” he said.
He thanked the UK Jarra Association for the good initiative.
Dr Amie Saidykhan, the founder of UK Jarra Association, was also on the visit meant to familiarise their partners with the developments that have taken place which include the building of a science and computer laboratories at Soma Senior Secondary School.
At Jassong Primary School, many children from the age of six were found sitting on the ground while some were using benches they take to school.
Commenting on the situation, Dr Saidykhan said: “We have a lot to do and this is an area that need support because I believe if you support a child you are supporting the future generation.”
She said there is always a need to give back to the society and that’s what they are doing by implementing various projects in Jarra.
The government, she said, cannot do everything in the development of the country and that is why the good citizens of Jarra in the UK decided to band and help their people in The Gambia.
Ayo Smart, a grade 11 pupil at Soma Senior Secondary School, applauded the efforts of the association saying the science lab will help them in their studies.
Ousman Jarju, the principal of the school, said the lab will encourage some of their pupils who are eager to move to schools in the Kombos to stay home.
He described it as a real morale booster for the pupils, teachers and the community of Jarra as a whole.
Ansumana Kinteh, chairman of the association, said ICD gave them US$100,000 to implement various projects in the three districts of Jarra.
“The hospital in Soma, being a rural district hospital, conditions are not the best due to lack of adequate resources and expertise. As a result, the UK Jarra Association in a bid to provide quality health for the populace, adopted the maternity ward in August 2016 and has fitted ceiling fans, supplied drugs, delivery beds, among other things,” he highlighted.
The ward currently has three beds and plans are afoot to expand it to at least eight.
“This support is replicated in the maternal wards at Toniataba, Jappineh and Bureng health centres,” he said.