FHAG Family Day Report

FHAG Family Day 2014

Saturday 11th January, 2014 Marks an important day for the Orphan Project (Project 7) under the activity of Foundation Humanitarian Aid Gambia {FHAG}. The program entitle ‘FHAG FAMILY DAY’ which is designed with an objective to bring all the sponsored orphans, together with their foster parents, members of the Board of FHAG and other invited guests under one roof to interact, share ideas with foster parents and students on issues of relevance towards the implementation of the project in an atmosphere of love and fun.

Alh. Sunkary Badjie, after the usual opening prayers, informed the gathering that, since the launching of Orphan’s project, so much has been done by FHAG to support families. And all these are spearheaded by the important personalities including those in our midst this morning {He pointed at Arthur, Ellen & Family} He applaud the Foundation efforts to national development and said the Board both in Holland and the Gambia and together with Staff has dedicated their time and resources towards the realization of all the projects in Agriculture, Health and in Education sectors here in the Gambia including the Orphan’s Project. He dedicated a new name “FHAG Family” instead of Orphan’s project. He emphasized that, although late parents are irreplaceable, but FHAG intervention had already made an indelible mark on the lives of the Orphans through the provision in paying their school fees, Contribute in cash or kind to the general welfare of the orphans and as well collaborates with Foster parents in many ways to solve their social problems. This intervention is geared towards “making them feels that they are living with their biological parents” He assured that at the end of the event, everyone will go home happy and motivated, he concluded.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Arthur Aalst who is the chairman of the Board of FHAG expressed appreciation for their participation. He said “normally they do not like to make long speech but what they do is to act strong, but he opined that, here that is in the opposite sometimes, where many a time, people make long speeches and in many cases do less”. He reminded participants that Orphan project emerged out of a desire to help Orphans who needs support. He narrated a story of a team which drove for Amsterdam Dakar Challenge who together with FHAG visited a school in Kunkujang Mariama in Kombo South. At the school, they were accorded a fitting welcome which followed by a drama performed by the students on ‘lives of orphans in traditional compounds’ an experience which was so touching and emotional. This experience he said, served as a basis of further findings of Orphanage in the Gambian society for the implementation of this project. He encouraged foster parents and the sponsors to make good use of the opportunities accorded to them in this project. He ends his speech with words of encouragement to all stakeholders by doing more to support the Orphans and as well to other sectors as enshrined in FHAG’s core objectives.
Talking on behalf of the Board members of FHAG, Mr. Ousman Ceesay highlighted the numerous benefits attached to FHAG interventions specifically the Orphan project. He stressed that, not only is it a responsibility open the beneficiaries or students but an obligation to make sure that, the support does not go in vain. There he emphasized that after doing all what it can to support students, they have no excuse for not attending classes or not performing well hence all what they need to achieve higher heights has been provided. That all the efforts of the students must go side by side with respect, discipline, patience, devotion to duties in schools, dedication to both domestic chores and above to work hard to develop themselves and the Gambia.
In his intervention, Seedy Jarjue, former Project Manager of FHAG dilated on what Ousman said and by extension talked about the parental roles as very important. He further stated that student’s successes lies partly on their foster parents and urged all to help in the upkeep of the children in a good way. On attitudinal change, he sighted some examples, where children are misled due to technology especially with the advent of the rural electrification project where families even from the remote areas have access to television and thus easily abused the viewing when they should concentrate on their books, he said now-a-days students, spent much of their time watching movies of little value to their lives, whiles their parents look on. He explained that many years ago, the discipline of children is everyone’s business even if one is not related to the child but said now is a different ball game. He concluded his statement by saying that, foster parents and beneficiary students must ask themselves ‘why they benefit from this initiative among the lot of other needy people in the Gambia’. If this is answered well in affirmative, then they will surely embrace it with responsibility.
Ancelic Badjie one of the beneficiary students, entertained the audiences with her melodious voice which was really trilling! Bonuwa Badjie also performed a very warm ‘Invisible Friendship’ play for the audience.
Francis Gomez also a youth activist made a statement and urged students to be well discipline and be away from drugs and other activities that can be detrimental to their health and wellbeing.
Michael Gomez also spoke at the occasion on behalf of foster parents and thank the sponsors for their support. He told parents to be steadfast and urged children to work hard and be discipline and to understand that, ‘the only right of any child is to go to school and learn’ a statement he cited from one of his students. He asked parents to emulate him by setting up a routine time table for the kids ‘what time to go out, what time to read and what time to sleep’.
Binta Sanneh, Lamin Jammeh,Isatou Sonko Gibba all Foster Parents and Councilor Ismaila Badjie share similar sentiments with Michael and thank donors for their immense support to the orphans. They urged FHAG to considered expanding support by helping other orphans who share similar problems and are not part of our this program. Councilor Badjie spoke on behalf of Brikama Area Council that partner with FHAG to start this project and recognized and applauded the work of Foundation Humanitarian Aid Gambia as exemplary in the Gambia. Praising them not only paying for school fees throughout their academic career to grade twelve but also going extra mile in paying some students with their university tuition fees as well as providing rice, cloths and accommodation for most of the sponsored orphan students.

In a brief statement, Mr. Phoday S. Touray Project Manager of FHAG informed students that, as part of our corporate social responsibility, the Foundation will not only pay monies to students for sponsorship sake, but said actions and intentions will be backed with responsibility. Therefore from henceforth all FHAG’s intervention projects would incorporate social understanding but stressed that all sponsorship would highly be based on performance and students commitment to education. Failure to satisfy these criteria without genuine reason would make the Board to considered appropriate alternative actions He reminded audience of Seedy’ statement where he said many other needy people are out there yearning for support and they do not get it.
Joana Badji gave a vote of thanks to FHAG for the support and promised that student beneficiaries would make good use of the opportunity.
The event is coordinated and hosted by Alhagie Sunkary Badjie, Coordinator and a Board Member of FHAG.

Written by Phoday S. Touray,
Project Manager- Foundation Humanitarian Aid Gambia.
Date: 16th January, 2014