25 August 2014
AFNOW coordinator clarifies Amir Khan's comments on Gunjur orphans
Buba Janneh, the coordinator of Abubakarr Siddique Foundation for Needy and Orphan Welfare (Afnow ), has expressed “shock” at the misrepresentation of the plight of orphans in Gunjur by Amir Khan Foundation. He explained: “It is shocking for me to hear that the orphans of Gunjur have been portrayed in such a filthy, ugly and nasty way. I have never seen Gunjur orphans in such a situation. Gunjur as a community is so organised and resourceful that we formed an association that seeks to protect and promote the dignity and welfare of the dead called Gunjur Welfare Association. This association has committed itself to providing assistance to poor families when their members are admitted at RVTH and they provide transportations for the deceased from RVTH to Gunjur without asking for anything from the bereaved families. The organisation sometimes finances the funeral rites of some financially challenged families. If such generosity obtains in this community, do you think people will go to bed without food for a day much more dying of hunger? Because of the magnanimity of the people of the community of Gunjur, an organisation was formed in 2003 specifically to support orphans. Abubakarr Siddique Foundation for Needy and Orphan Welfare (AFNOW) is a registered charity with registration number 753/2006, with its headquarters in Gunjur. AFNOW is a democratic, apolitical, non-partisan and non-profit making body. It is a community based organisation (CBO) charged with the responsibility of looking after the welfare of the orphans, needy and widows. AFNOW primarily focuses on providing education, food, clothing, skills trainings and micro-finance credit for the orphans, needy and widows”. Mr Janneh added: “AFNOW from its inception has been tirelessly supporting these vulnerable children and today many students completed their schooling with some going to the college and some are even employed thanks to our support. And this organisation is financecd 100% by the natives of Gunjur both in The Gambia and in the diaspora. The people of Gunjur do not need any orphanage because we want our orphans to be with their grandmothers and aunties so as to learn the rich culture and tradition of their heritage and not to be indoctrinated by any foreign ideologies. And we want these children to realise that they are supported by their own brothers, uncles, aunties and grandmothers so that in return they can also give back the same support from which they have benefited in the future. Amir Khan who was trying to rob the community of Gunjur must have used somebody from Gunjur. He was given a wrong picture and statistics of orphans in Gunjur. We are not trying to stop people from assisting the orphans in Gunjur but it should be done in a clear and transparent manner. It should be done through families, parents and guardians of orphans without shifting their responsibilities to others, especially people they don’t know but only met because they want help. I will be very much ungrateful if I don’t thank Dr. Nick for manifesting his love and care for the community of Gunjur and in this case for the orphans. He deserves to be commended for the wonderful job he has done for this community and The Gambia as a whole for over thirty years”.