By Madi S Njie
Saikou Fofana, Vision Development Foundation (VDF) Public Relations Officer (PRO) unveiled that this year their organization spent close to 2 Million Dalasi worth of Ramadan gifts to Muslims.
The last day of charity to Muslims held at the VDF office in Churchil’s Town was graced by cabinet Ministers, National Assembly Members, Religious leaders, community members, among others.
Among those present were Ministers of Trade Dr Isatou Touray, and Foreign Affairs- Ousainou Darboe, both of whom commended the initiative, and assured Government’s resolve to support efforts in promoting people’s livelihood development.
Speaking to journalists, PRO Fofana said they have been doing this for the past years to complement government and communities in supporting the needy.
However, he said this year their operation has expanded due to increasing demands for support from the poor and the needy.
“This year, we have touched so many parts of the country, not only in the Greater Banjul Areas, but also to the North Bank Region, Central River Region, the Lower River Region and West Coast Region.
“This year also from Foni to Banjul, almost all the central Mosques got their bulls provided by VDF,” he said, adding that they would like to expand even further next year.
He commended Momodou Turo Darboe and family for single handedly supporting the initiative, and prayed for his long life, to sustain his support to the needy.
He said VDF has been supportive towards education development, in terms of child funds, creating women new and rehabilitating vegetable gardens; supported the police, immigration, among others.
“This year we embark on new project. Very soon we will inaugurate 4 boreholes, and before the end of December we want to dig 9 boreholes in other parts of the country,” he said. He added that they believe that caring and supporting is a tool to reach others in need. “Since the beginning of the Ramadan, anyone that comes here will get something to break your fast with.”
He expressed gratitude to the security and the media for giving them the needed support.
He assured that their doors are open to anybody who wants to partner with them, to do what they are doing. “We can show you how to do what we are doing. Because we want so many people to do what we are doing. No amount is small. Whatever little we have we can share it, being with Muslims, Christians, handicap, or any other human being, Vision Development Foundation is here for you. We want Gambians to pray for Mr Darboe’s long life, good health and increase his ability to do more.”
On their sustainability plans, Mr Fofana said VDF intends to establish new horticultural women’s gardens, rehabilitate old gardens, and establish skills centres, to ensure that there is regular source of income for everybody irrespective of wherever you are living, to earn a living and sustain their families.
He therefore called for partnership because they are confronted with major challenges to meet increasing demands for support.
Mr fofana further called on all that can to come and partner with VDF to complement efforts, or do similar things in other parts of the country. “If we have more organizations doing what we are doing then the problem is solved.
“It does not matter what one can do to your country, but about having the heart to help,” he said.
Hon. Saikou Marong, National Assembly Member of Latrikunda Sabiji said from the first day of the Ramadan to the end, every day people gather at the VDF office for gifts, and therefore called on others to emulate VDF and Mr Darboe in helping the poor.
Imam Muhammed Jako of Ebo Town Mosque described the gesture as rare, noting that there are many wealthy people, but few among them are thinking of sharing their wealth with the poor. He re-echoed the need for other wealthy people to emulate Mr Darboe and team.
Saite Fanta Jagne, a beneficiary from Bundung commended Mr Darboe for the gesture. He called on government and all that can, to give the needed support to the needy. He also encouraged Mr Darboe to continue doing it for Gambians and for posterity, while appealing for Gambians that to emulate Mr Darboe.