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Babylon School bids farewell to Marry Vonk

Jul 11, 2014, 9:50 AM | Article By: Malamin L.M. Conteh

The teachers, students and parents of Babylon Nursery and Lower Basic schools in Lamin Kombo North District, West Coast Region, recently bade farewell to Marry Vonk, a Dutch national.

She is the co-coordinator and financial director of Babylon Lower Basic School from Holland who has rendered her services to the school over the past four years.

In his farewell message, the Gambia Paramoun Chief, who also doubles as the head chief of Kombo North District, Alhagie Demba Sanyang, commended Marry Vonk for her dedication and the concern she had for the future leaders of The Gambia.

“This school started operation with the help of CCF now called ‘Child Fund International-The Gambia,” the Paramount chief said.

According to the Paramount Chief, there are people who started their nursery education at Babylon school and are now manning high posts at various government institutions and private sectors in the country.

He urged the parents to inculcate discipline in their children, lack of which their future would be jeopardised.

He described the outgoing Marry Vonk as a real mother to Babylon school.

He thanked the entire staff of Babylon school for their dedication and hard work, and urged them to emulate Marry Vonk for her good work and dedication shown to the school and the community in particular.

In his farewell speech, the headmaster of Babylon Lower Basic School, Essa Touray, said it was a great honour and privilege to work with Marry Vonk in the past four years, whom she said through her leadership, the school had registered many developments.

“It has been four years of success, four years of achievement, four years of saying yes we can do it and only reason we can that is because of the support she gave us all the time,” Touray said.

Sister Marry, Touray added, had done a lot for the community of Lamin village; key among them was the recent hospital project which was in near completion.

According to headmaster Touray, Marry Vonk had changed and inspired many lives in the school and to find a person like Vonk would be hard.

He said Vonk’s work at Babylon school was second to none, because the values she brought to the tasks assigned to her “are very unique and the impacts are great”.

Marry Vonk told the gathering that ‘to say good-bye’ is not an easy thing, but as a stranger in a foreign land there must be a day you would pick up your little belongings back home.

She said time had come for her to say good-bye because she had missed her family in Holland and they had also missed her, adding that no minute did she regret to start her mission and project in The Gambia.

She commended the entire administration of Babylon Lower Basic School and their students for the support they gave her during her four-year stay in the school and she also sent her special thanks to the alkalo of Lamin, Paramount Chief and the community of Lamin for conferring her honorary citizen of Lamin.

She said it was part of her long time dream in Holland to help children in Africa with good education, adding that she was lucky her sponsors built a school for her in Lamin with the help of Essa Touray and the community of Lamin.

According to Vonk, she arrived in The Gambia with her Mission ‘Good Education for all Students at Babylon Lower Basic School’ thus good education is only possible with good qualified teachers.

Marry Vonk achievements

In 2009 she did a consultant work for students to have access to quality education and signing of contract document to sponsor the school for five years.

In 2010 she was appointed as co-coordinator and financial director for the school.

In 2012-2014 through Vonk, headmaster Essa Touray was enrolled at Banutu Business College to do his H.N.D Associate Degree course in administration.

In 2013 the school benefited from school feeding programme.

In 2013-2030 the school will benefit from sponsorship package.

In 2012-2014, 75 students from Grade 3 sat to NAT exams, 95% successfully passed.

In 2014, the community of Lamin benefited from D6.3 million hospital project (near completion), rehabilitation of Lamin women garden, new Babylon Upper Basic School and sponsoring of teachers to do HTC course.