Dalema Foundation, an organisation, which seeks to protect children from injustice, inequality and discrimination, was officially launched in The Gambia on Saturday.
Founded in 2015 and formally registered in 2016, Dalema intends to achieve this goal through sensitisation, partnership and networking within The Gambia and beyond.
Ekun Dayoh M. S. Dago, founder and President of the Foundation, said the main objectives of the organisation include: to support the development and growth of orphanage children; to advance and teach them doctrines and culture, and to lobby for gender equality through public education and advocacy.
“The mission of Dalema is to always support children and ensure they never walk alone. We develop and support vulnerable children especially orphans in various ways, offer educational opportunities such as formal education, skills development, and donate basic necessities,’’ Dago said, adding that training of childcare givers on rights of children and gender equality to enable productive interaction with these children and conducting mentorship programmes are equally critical components of their intervention.
“We recognised the efforts of the government of The Gambia for providing the enabling environment within which NGOs can operate.’’
Njundu Drammeh, the National Coordinator of the Child Protection Alliance, said childhood is the most important thing in one’s life, saying when you lose it, it means you lose everything. “But behind the childhood will be parents, they are the first defense for any child, when those parents are not there you don’t have that support,’’ he stated.
He further noted that when one supports a child and he or she succeeds, everyone gains, adding that Jesus Christ said the Kingdom of God belongs to little children, so children are absolutely important. “The extended family is no longer what it used to be, so we would need a foundation like Dalema Foundation to fill that void; to fill that vacuum to support that child.”
Bridget Correa, deputising the Executive Director of Action-Aid International The Gambia, said Action-Aid has been working in the country for the past three decades and is aware that achieving its aspirations will require it to work in partnership with progressive organisations like Dalema Foundation. “There is nothing more psychologically traumatising for a child than to be deprived of parental love, care, nurture and above all security and protection by the untimely death of parents,” she said, adding that this trauma is the loss of much needed adult guidance and protection as a child grows against the tribulations of the harsh world in which they live.
“Children without adult proper care are more likely to be abused and exploited; many orphans and vulnerable children sleep further in poverty once the families’ bread winner stops working or dies.”
Sheikh Omar Jallow, Director at the National Council for Arts and Cultural responsible of creative and performing arts warned; “You will be going out there looking for funds in the name of orphans, make sure let your child not benefit from it because it is not for your child but orphans.”
He said should any of the Dalema Foundation’s members benefit from the funds they would generate in the name of the orphans; they would be doing the wrong thing.
by Omar Wally