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Turo Darboe reaches out to Christian Community, others on Christmas

Dec 31, 2013, 10:04 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

In yet another show of his philanthropist gesture, businessman Momodou Turo Darboe, who also doubles as Chief Executive Officer of Vision Development Foundation (VDF), last Tuesday donated a total of One Hundred bags of 25kg rice, One Hundred crates of can drinks among other food items to the Christian community in the country for the Christmas celebrations.

The gesture, presented to the Gambia Christian Council at a ceremony held at the VDF offices in Churchills Town, will be distributed to Christians living in the country while a total of Three Hundred and Seventy cartons of tomato paste went to other NGOs affiliated to the VDF.

It comes barely two months after the Fajikunda-based business tycoon gave out a total of 2113 rams to needy Muslims across the country in observance of the Muslim feast of Tobaski.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Modou Lamin Jagne, senior programme officer at VDF, thanked the beneficiaries for accepting the gesture, which he said, was meant for them as part of their celebrations marking Christmas.

Recalling that the foundation has over the years supported needy Muslims during feast like Tobaski and Koriteh, Jange noted that this time, it was the turn of the Christian community.

‘‘The VDF deems it fitting and it is in line with our vision to support the poor and needy irrespective of their religious denomination, political affiliation or tribe,’’ Jange stated.

Momodou Manta Jallow, coordinator of the VDF commended the Board of the VDF for coming up with this proposal and particularly to the CEO for approving the donation, which he said, will go a long way in addressing poverty in The Gambia.

For his part, Lamin Dibba, Chairperson of the Board of Vision Development Foundation, said the gesture is a show of the foundation’s commitment to celebrate Christmas with its Christian brothers and sisters.

According to him, the VDF is a non-governmental organization that has the objective of complementing the efforts of the government in reducing poverty in the poor communities.

The VDF, he went on, also provided support to its affiliated NGO members since they have benefitted from some training thanks to the support of the foundation. ‘‘We are doing all this because sustainability is very high on the VDF’s agenda,’’ he stated.

While recognizing the religious tolerance that exists in the Gambia, Dibba described this as very rare in other parts of the African continent.

In receiving the gesture on behalf of the Gambia Christian Council, Therese Cardos, vice chairperson of the Council expressed gratitude to the Vision Development Foundation on behalf of all Christians living in the Gambia.

Describing the gesture as a step in the right direction, Therese said it could not have come at a better time than this.

According to her, celebrating Christmas is a way of celebrating peace and joy, justice, and humankind, noting that the Gambia is unique when it comes to religious tolerance.

The presentation of the Christmas gifts, she added, is a way of fostering our togetherness and cementing the unity that Jesus Christ brings to this world.

‘‘Today we pray for the long life of the Vision Development Foundation through the Chief Executive Officer for this laudable initiative from a foundation that continues to put smiles in the faces of many people,’’ she stated.

Also speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Alieu Sanyang, Secretary General of the National Women and Children Association for Hygiene and Nutrition (NAWCAHN) urged the beneficiaries to make best use of the donated items.

While commending the Vision Development Foundation for the gesture, Sanyang noted that the gesture could not have come at a better time than now.

When contacted for comments, Momodou Turo Darboe, an ardent Muslim, declined to comment but was quick to say that he believes in the culture of sharing his God-given wealth with the poor and the needy, just as his late father used to do.

According to him, Muslims and Christians happily live together in the Gambia and this must be jealously guarded for the development of this country.