The Operation Save the Children Foundation’s (OSCF) first ever gala dinner was held on Wednesday, October 26 hosted by the founder, Her Excellency Madam Zineb Jammeh, First Lady of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia.
The event was held under the distinguished patronage of Her Royal Highness, Princess Haya Bint Al-Hussein, spouse of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and the Emir of Dubai.
Held at the State House grounds in Banjul, the spectacular event, according to many, was one of the best gala dinners as it was organised to international standard. The Vice President and some cabinet ministers including private and public institutions also attended the event
The event was meant to raise funds for the expansion of the pediatric and maternity wards of the Serekunda General Hospital which are very crucial to the realisation of the objectives of the health services programme of the OSCF strategic plan.
Speaking at the occasion, the First Lady said the pediatric and maternity wards expansion project of the Foundation would contribute to the reduction of infant and maternal morbidity and mortality and hence enhance progress towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals targets in these health indicators, thus the resources mobilised from the dinner would serve a worthy cause in transforming the relationship with their sponsors into partners in development.
“I am deeply honoured to welcome you all to this fundraising dinner organised by the Operation Save the Children Foundation. I also wish to express my sincere gratitude for the attendance and support of all of you who are here with us. Your presence is highly appreciated as it clearly indicates that you share the vision of OSCF,” she said.
“The Operation Save the Children Foundation is a non-profit organisation which I am honoured to head; it’an initiative of its chief patron, my dear husband His Excellency the President Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa. The Foundation is part of the institutional structure of my office and it seeks to forge partnership with all organisations and institutions that have the promotion of the welfare of women and children as their main concern. Operation Save the Children Foundation is financed by goodwill donations from His Excellency the President, public and private institutions, as well as proceeds of fundraising activities like this gala dinner.”
The First Lady further stated that the Foundation also participates in the empowerment of women by supporting adult literacy programmes and providing special loans and donations to promote women entrepreneurship. She said OSCF 2016-2020 strategic plan was developed to give directions and focus to the Foundation and to serve as its operational framework. The plan also seeks to mobilise resources to support the implementation of the programmes of the Foundation and to strengthen its capacity.
The programmes of the Foundation have been formulated to enhance the realisation of the objectives of the government policies in the health, education, gender and social welfare sectors that are directed towards the welfare of children, women and other vulnerable groups; such as orphans, persons with disabilities and people living with HIV/AIDS.
“We create events like this evening’s gala dinner because of the eager and generous support of our sponsors. So I would like to personally thank all sponsors and benefactors of the Operations Save the Children Foundation for their generosity and encouragement. Before concluding I would like to share with you that when we were planning for this event we thought of bringing a new concept to the Foundation’s gala dinner. As you all know OSCF focuses mainly on children and that is why it was very important for us to involve children in this event; so please take the time to listen to them and enjoy the entertainment because they have been working very hard. Thank you again for your support. May God blesses you all,” she concluded.
by Musa Ndow