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First Lady donates D500,000 to visually impaired schools

Jul 21, 2016, 10:41 AM | Article By: Adam Jobe

(Wednesday July 20, 2016 Issue)

The First lady and chairperson of Operation Save the Children Foundation, Zineb Jammeh, through her foundation has donated D500,000 to the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education to support their inclusive school feeding programme initiative.

The beneficiaries are the Gambia Organization for Visually Impaired (GOVI), St. John’s School for the Deaf and Methodist School for Learning Difficulties.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony held yesterday at State House in Banjul, the Executive Director of Operation Save the Children Foundation (OSCF), Fatou Mass Jobe, said the first lady strongly believes that the provision of nutritious meals in the school environment for children with special needs would ensure they eat in a safe environment and at the right time.

She added that children with special needs like other children need nutritious meals to learn more effectively, disclosing that the first lady has pledged to support MoBSE’s inclusive school feeding programme with D500,000 annually, starting from 2016.

The permanent secretary, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Baboucarr Bouy, said when it comes to children with special needs, as a ministry they are so passionate about children.

They consider them to be very special and he, on behalf of all the special children in The Gambia, expressed sincere gratitude to the first lady for the generous donation.

PS Bouy mentioned that it was not a surprise to them because following the first lady’s intervention, the kids in special needs in general have a special place in her heart and the work she does.

The donation, he said, was only meant for school feeding not for every student, the school for the blind, the centre of special needs for learning difficulties, and the St. John’s School for the Deaf.

For supporting the MoBSE, Anna Nancy Mendy from MoBSE said there was no doubt that school feeding is very essential, and has proven to be a major part of contributing to education.

Thus, she said, the decision of the first lady is to provide school feeding to the most vulnerable group in the society.

Mrs Mendy thanked the first lady for her kind generosity, and prayed for her long life to continue doing such.

“I hope that it will not stop only on school feeding, but will go on to other things that we really want to ensure that they get the maximum education needed,” she pleaded.

The representative from World Food Programme, Francis Abanzi, said the foundation of any nation depends on education, saying that it is education that brings in feeding of the children that develops the nation.

He said school feeding is one of the ways that contributes to nation building, urging everyone to support school feeding.

He also pointed out that school feeding ensures that children are kept in school and help in getting the foundation of behaviour that are conducive for education and development, both physically and mentally.

Mr Abanzi thanked the first lady, MoBSE and the department of Social Welfare for contributing to the health of the children, adding that school feeding should be the business of everybody.

Representing ChildFund Gambia, Kebba Jaiteh, said ChildFund has very keen interest in children, in general, emphasising that it is everybody’s responsibility to pay attention to them, because they are part of the society.

He added that disability does not mean they do not contribute equally to the building of the nation.

The director of Social Welfare, Ajaratou Fanta Bai Secka, also thanked the first lady for her ceaseless support to all the activities in the area of child protection.

She said children with difficulties need special treatment, adding that they need special support, so providing them with school meals would boost their health status, as well as education.

She called on all individuals to help these children to make sure that school meals are provided to every child in The Gambia.