Legislators of the National Assembly Wednesday overwhelmingly voted in favour of the Motion: Islamic Republic of The Gambia to recognise, celebrate, proclaim and commemorate the 15th Day of Ramadan yearly; to be observed as Orphans’ Day across the country.
Laid by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Neneh Macdouall-Gaye, before lawmakers, the motion aims at giving due consideration to orphans by paying unwavering attention to their plights and needs as any other children.
She informed lawmakers that the recognition, celebration, proclamation and commemoration of Orphans’ Day was an initiative developed and proclaimed by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), by a resolution adopted at its 40th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, which was held in Conakry, Republic of Guinea in December 2013, thus setting 15th Day of Ramadan in the Islamic World to raise awareness about the issues and needs of orphans.
Minister Macduouall-Gaye acknowledged that the issues and plights of orphans, worldwide is a matter of great concern to individuals like the Gambian leader, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. AJJ Yahya Jammeh Babili Mansa, governments as well as international organisations.
“This House will no doubt agree with me that the Islamic Republic of The Gambia, under the distinguish leadership of His Excellency the President, has always championed the welfare of women and children including orphans and widows, through many and diverse policy interventions and programmes,” she said.
She further gave perspective of orphans at the global level, pointing out that a wide range of disasters, both natural and man-made, account for the main cause of orphanage. She added that concerns about the rights, welfare and plights of these orphans are very high on the development and humanitarian agenda of governments and leaders across the Islamic Ummah today.
“As a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Islamic Republic of The Gambia has paid particular attention to the vulnerability of orphans locally as well as in other OIC Member States,” she said.
The OIC she added, after the catastrophic Tsunami that hit Indonesia, has launched a special programme for the welfare and protection of its member states. “It is the fact that the needs of orphans in Islamic Ummah struck by disasters are immense and the responses still remain inadequate,” she observed.
Seconding the motion, Bintanding Jarju, the Member for Foni Berefet, said orphanage is the most sympathetic situation a child can be found in. She pointed out parental love as immense, which she says help solace a child in whatever condition he/she is in.
She argued that The Gambia commemorating Orphans’ Day as a member of the OIC is an important thing to do. “It is a straightforward motion. It’s not controversial, and everyone in this room would agree with me that an orphan is vulnerable.”
She finally indicted that the adoption of the motion would help complement the efforts of the Gambian First Lady’s Operation Save the Children Foundation and other initiatives.
Haddy Nyang-Jagne the MAM for Jeswang Constituency said losing a parent could have a devastating effect on a child. She argued that not everybody is always willing to take the responsibility of a child that is not his/hers as a result of economic condition and other limitations.
Hon. Kalifa Jammeh, the Member for Bakau, said Islam is all about sharing, caring and tolerance, noting that is what all Muslims should consider. He called on oil rich nations within the OIC to endeavour to put aside certain percentage of money in recognition of Orphans’ Day annually.
by Bekai Njie