The First Lady, Her Excellency Madam Zineb Yahya Jammeh, on Tuesday donated D500, 000 to the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education through her Operation Save the Children Foundation in support of the Ministry’s inclusive school feeding programme.
The beneficiary schools of this benevolent gesture are The Gambia Organisation for the Visually Impaired (GOVI), Saint John’s School for the Deaf and Methodist School for Learning Difficulties.
Presenting a cheque for the said amount on behalf of the First Lady to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education Baboucarr Boye, Fatou Mass Jobe, Executive Director of the Foundation described the donation as another manifestation of Her Excellency’s unparalleled devotion and love for Gambian children.
She said the donation to support the inclusive school feeding programme initiative is in line with its programme areas as enshrined in the Operation Save the Children Foundation’s Strategic Plan. She pointed out that the First Lady strongly believes that the provision of nutritious meals in school environment for children with special needs will ensure they eat in a safe environment and at the right time.
She said that children with special needs require nutritious meals to learn more effectively, adding that as such, the First Lady has pledged to support the Programme with an annual D500,000 donation, starting from 2016.
For his part, Baboucarr Boye the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education said when it comes to children with special needs, the Ministry is very passionate about them. He, therefore, thanked the First Lady for the generous donation, adding that the Ministry has greatly appreciated her efforts. He noted that the donation will go a long way in boosting the nutritional needs of children with special needs.
Anna Nancy Mendy, the Principal Education Officer working with children with special needs at the Ministry said school feeding is essential and has proven to be a major factor contributing to improved education. She added that the decision of Her Excellency the First Lady to provide school feeding for the most vulnerable groups in our society is indeed a humble and fitting gesture.
She further stated that apart from getting a nutritious balanced diet, it will reduce the risk of accidents and other vices as children with special needs are likely to go round searching for food.
She added that the burden of providing money to students for food will be reduced and children will be in a better state to learn.
Fanta Bai Secka, the Director of Social Welfare thanked the First Lady for the benevolent gesture, noting that this support will greatly improve the life of the children with special needs.
Other speakers at the occasion include Francis Abanzi of the World Food Programme and Kebba Jaiteh of Child Fund The Gambia who both expressed their willingness to support children with special needs and commended the First Lady for her support towards children with special needs.
by Momodou Faal