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“TOGETHER FOR THE CREATION”: THE GAMBIAN -NORWEGIAN IMAM’S GREEN SHOT- AN IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW ON GREEN JIHAD AND CLIMATE CHANGE

February 10, 2016
Imam Ebrahim Saidy - Chairman of Green Jihad for Peace and Sustainable Development (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Imam Ebrahim Saidy – Chairman of Green Jihad for Peace and Sustainable Development (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

The blizzard that has hit New York is said to be unprecedented over the past two decades and it is likely to trigger floods in other parts of the world. This is a manifestation that Climate Change is real and that everyone is in one way or the other affected. It is the concern for global leaders and their various governments to act to mitigate Climate Change that has pulled together environmental activists of different organizations in Norway in a series of demonstrations. The first of such actions took place on the 21st of January at Eidsvolls Plass in front of Parliament building. Among the crowd was the Imam of Daru Salaam Islamic Centre, Norway. A casual observer might be curious of the presence of a religious leader in an environmental action event but a reflection on the theme of the gathering; «together for the creation» would give the observer a clue on the presence of a religious leader in such a gathering. To protect the environment is a collective responsibility. Every sector of the global community has something to contribute to fix this global threat, be they scientists, economists, politicians or spiritual leaders; each has a part to play. The presence of the Imam, a leader of a religious community is very pertinent for two reasons; 1. He is more or less a nurturer of the souls of believers to ensure healthy consumption of natural resources. 2. He gives a shot that is intended to rectify the negative connotations associated with the word ‘Jihad’. His organization; “Green Jihad for Peace and Sustainable Development” intends to embark on an environmental Jihad. Contrary to the negative connotations associated especially nowadays with Jihad; misused by so-called jihadists to murder innocent souls, Green Jihad for Peace and Sustainable Development is out to make the People recognize their relationship with the environment and their Creator in order to deliver environmental justice and social justice. Green Jihad is out to promote the positive meaning of Jihad, which in essence means a struggle for both inner and outer Peace with the Creator and the creation.

This is why the Imam stood in the ranks of People of other Faiths and environmental activists at Eidsvolls Plass to demonstrate for serious action to be taken by world leaders and politicians in Norway in particular, to mitigate global warming. The Imam granted an interview to shed light on his work, environmental activism and the newly formed organization, “Green Jihad for Peace and Sustainable Development”. Below is a complete replica of the interview conducted by Landing Nyassi.

Landing Nyassi (LN): Imam Ebrahim Saidy, you have been the leader and Imam of Daru Salaam Islamic Centre in Norway for many years. You have been involved in a lot of work including a recent initiative that you have set up, the Green Jihad, which is an affiliate of the Daru Salaam Islamic Centre. It is a pleasure to interview you so that you can shed light on the activities you’ve been doing. Can you kindly start by telling us about you background and the activities you’ve been involved in at the Daru Salaam Islamic Center?

Imam Ebrahim Saidy (IES): Thank you very much Nyassi. Alhamdulillah Rabil alamin wa salaat wa salaam ala Rasulillah. Assallaamu aleikum to everyone! I started with Daru Salaam back in 1994 when I came here from the Gambia upon the request of Daru Salaam Islamic Centre then known as Islamic Movement to come and serve as Imam. Before that I was an assistant secretary at the then Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture responsible for culture and religious affairs in the Gambia. I started actually as a teacher of Islamic Studies at Muslim High School which was my alma mater; from there I studied at the University of Qatar specializing in Education, Languages and religious studies; mainly Arabic, English and French but then for some reasons I didn’t continue with the French. I just continued with English and Arabic. Alhamdulillahi Rabil alamin I’ve been here now for over 20years and my activities with Daru Salaam have basically been as you know, on religious affairs; teaching Islam, leading Islamic rituals like the five daily prayers, naming ceremonies, marriage ceremonies, family counseling, funeral ceremonies, social work and so on and so forth. Until the year 2011 when the Islamic Council of Norway with whom I have been working as a representative from the Daru Salaam Islamic Centre mainly in the Imams’ committee.

They nominated me to represent them on an interfaith delegation to Durban, South Africa when COP 17 of the UNFCC Conference on Climate Change. I was asked to represent them there; the Norwegian Interfaith group that went out as an advocacy group, as part of the international civil society groups that attend these climate conferences in order to put pressure on the politicians and economists to consider also the human aspect: the spiritual, moral and ethical aspects of Climate Change. To make them see that it does not only have to do with politics and economics but it also has to do with morals, the lives of human beings at the very core level. This is basically our mission at the meetings and it was since then I’ve been involved in issues of Climate Change and the fight for climate justice.

LN: Thank you very much Imam for touching on that Climate Change issue and that pushes us to my next question. Recently you have been part of an environmental action or demonstration that took place here in Norway at Eidsvolls Plass in front of Parliament building. A casual observer might be curious to ask what an Imam was doing in such an environmental action gathering. What would you say to such an observer?

IES: Like I have said the issue of Climate Change is not only about politics and economics or science but it’s also about human lives, it touches human beings directly especially the poorest of this world. Religion as I understand it is mainly about saving lives. It is about protecting lives, especially human lives. It is about building up a wholesome human being; protecting lives, property, intellect and so forth and this is why we are basically involved in this movement. The appeal that I made at Eidsvolls Plass was that we must all work together to make sure our earth is protected, to make sure that the beautiful earth that Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has bequeathed to us is not destroyed because if it is destroyed we would have failed in our mission as human beings in our responsibility towards Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. We are taught that the Almighty created humans and placed them on earth to be His vicegerents, i.e. to represent Him on earth. Therefore we are to maintain justice, we are to maintain peace and we are to maintain the balance which Allah has placed in our eco-systems and not to disturb them. The Qur’an speaks very clearly about this in many instances. This is basically my personal motivation to be involved in such a cause.

LN: You were there as a leader of the Muslims or Islam as a religion, were there leaders of other Faiths like Christians or Buddhists and if so how is your relationship with them with regards to the fight against Climate Chang.

IES: Yes, there were other leaders from the Norwegian state church as well as what they call the Norwegian free churches. Generally apart from this specific event you have asked about, since I travelled to Durban I have in the subsequent years travelled to Warsaw and to Paris last year. When I travel we are together as an interfaith delegation. It is quite interesting and Norway has been the only country sending interfaith delegations to these climate conferences, many others come but they come as single faith groups. We travel as Muslims; we have Christians amongst us from the Norwegian Lutheran church, Norwegian free churches and Norwegian Catholic churches. We have members from the Jewish community, the Mosaic Society, we have Sikhs and I think that is a possibility of having Hindus and Buddhists on board as well. Although the Sikhs were not with us in the last journey to Paris, they are nevertheless, part of the local interfaith group we have here in Norway. It has grown basically out of a long cooperation between the Islamic Council which is the Umbrella Organization of all Mosques and Muslim religious organizations in Norway and the Norwegian state church and other faith groups in what we call the interfaith council. We have been having dialogue meetings with them and cooperating on many issues. I have discovered during this period that the best way to do dialogue among different faiths is to focus on issues of mutual concern like climate justice, climate change where each one of us would come with the view points of his or her religion. We will say what our religion says about it and we would engage ourselves to work for a common cause that concerns all human beings, that concerns all religions. From these points you would find that there are no disagreements so it is very easy to move on to other areas as long as we have established a common ground which the issue of Climate Change gives us a golden opportunity to do.

LN: Thank you very much for mentioning the need for a common ground; that’s very important. So let’s move on to the initiative that you have started, i.e. the Green Jihad. I understand that you together with other concerned people were able to set up this NGO called Green Jihad for Peace and Sustainable Development. I want you to elaborate more on Green Jihad, how did it come about? Where did the inspiration come from?

IES: Like I said it all came from my experience and dialogue with the Christian community in Norway but particularly during the period I have travelled with them to Climate Change conferences. In this regard it was basically in Warsaw that I thought of the concept Green Jihad. To cut a long story short, the organization we have just formed of which, of course, you are an executive member is a Muslim or Islamic initiative with the aim of establishing an interfaith group or organization. So the nature of Green Jihad is basically interfaith or multi-religious. It would basically address issues of Climate Change, poverty alleviation, combating radicalization and combating illegal immigration via the Mediterranean Sea; the phenomenon known as the “back way” but it will in all of these work for peaceful co-existence as well as for development. The initiative is meant to first and foremost make individual Muslims and non Muslims aware of their roles and responsibilities in the broader issue of Climate Change; that we as individuals have a responsibility to take care and minimize our carbon footprints, CO2 being the main agent responsible for climate change the world over.

We are also of the realization and understanding that we cannot combat climate change if we do not work for peace and social justice. That is why you have the broader concept of Green Jihad for Peace and Sustainable Development. I would like here to touch particularly on the word “Jihad”. It is no news that the concept of Jihad has become one of the hottest issues of our day. It has become one of the most misunderstood or misinterpreted or abused words or if you like concepts in Islam. That has kind of motivated me to stand up and do my part together with good people like yourself and other members of Green Jihad as well as others who share the same thoughts as us to show the world that Islam actually is not what violent extremists or so-called fundamentalist people want to show to the world. What Jihad actually means is a struggle and the best such struggle is a spiritual struggle. It is a spiritual struggle for inner peace, for the purification of the soul and the spirit. It is the improvement and betterment of the human being and the quality of the life of the human being. It is a struggle to establish peace within one’s self and between one’s self and one’s Creator. Peace between one’s self and one’s environment, peace between one’s self and everyone one comes into contact with. This is basically what we hope to achieve in the activities we plan to undertake in Green Jihad.

LN: That is very clear. In order words you are fighting to get rid of the negative connotations that are tied nowadays on Jihad. I understand that you and together with some other organizations organized an International Earth Day in Norway last year. Is this event going to be something that is going to come every year?

IES: Yes, hopefully, insha Allah, for Green Jihad is basically an alternative to violence. Earth day is one of the activities through which we hope to continue our work under the umbrella of Green Jihad. We started it last year as part of the activities geared towards environmental awareness at Daru Salaam Islamic Centre of which Green Jihad is an affiliate; a daughter organization as I’m also the Imam of the Centre. It is a day that we would set aside every year to celebrate if you like the favor which Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has given us, which is the earth upon which we live and how to maintain it as green as Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has created it. The Prophet (S.A.W) has stated very clearly in a Hadith that: “this world in which you live has been created by Allah delicious and green and He has appointed you as stewards upon it and He will monitor your activities and see how you behave on it and He will take you to task for that on the day of judgment”. So this is basically the responsibility we are carrying out in our activities of Green Jihad and the Earth Day is to celebrate exactly that. It is with lectures, symposia, workshops, all geared towards creating awareness, fostering positive attitudinal changes and peaceful co-existence amongst ourselves and amongst people generally.

LN: Thank you very much. That is one of the activities you would embark on in Green Jihad. Are there other activities you intend to embark upon apart from the International Earth Day that you have just mentioned?

IES: We do have Alhamdulillah, other activities we plan to embark upon like the idea of “sett settal” (voluntary cleaning exercise) that we have also come up with. This will happen perhaps once or twice a year here in Oslo after massive celebrations like the Norwegian national day. You know the area in which we have our Masjid, the streets are full to capacity on those celebrations and dirt is littered everywhere. We would take up the responsibility and show that positive aspect of our faith and clean the streets when such events occur like the 17th of May and after New Year’s Day. Apart from that we have also thought about going out to refugee camps and schools. To refugee camps the refugees that are coming especially from war torn areas like Syria , Afghanistan, Libya, organizing discussions and seminars and symposia with them , talking to them, helping them resettle mentally and psychologically, helping them understand the new situation in which they’ve come to, helping them find themselves in the bigger Norwegian society . It is to kind of work as bridge builders between these new comers and the broader Norwegian society. Being ourselves immigrants with that experience and background, I believe it would become much easier but we would also collaborate with many other Norwegian organizations; religious and secular that are working in the area of peace or that are working in the area of development or in environmental issues. In the schools we would talk to young people especially of immigrant background and try to see what their needs and concerns or problems are and do our best to collaborate with the authorities in finding solutions that would be peaceful and amicable.

LN: Imam there are some scholars who say that there is a correlation between Climate Change and migration. More or less, there is a nexus between Climate Change and migration. What plans do you have for combating illegal migration especially for those coming from sub-Saharan Africa; do you intend to work hand in hand with people on the ground in Africa for example?

IES: Yes, these are part of our long term plans if you like but there is indeed a nexus or a correlation between climate change and patterns of migration because climate change brings about coastal erosion, populations are forced to move. Climate Change brings about the poverty or depletion of soil nutrients which affects agricultural production which increases general poverty of populations all over the world. All of these contribute to the fact that young people find no other viable alternative in their countries in the third world and they very naturally aspire to migrate to Europe or to other countries in the world where they expect greener pastures. We know that this has resulted in phenomena like the “back way” syndrome like I mention in the beginning. We all know how hazardous this is and the risks that are always involved; the multitudes of lives of young people that are lost in the Sahara desert and in the Mediterranean Sea and other places. Hopefully, the stronger we get with more funding we would be more than happy to work with organizations that … but we would like to go even further to grassroots level back in Africa. In The Gambia for example, to establish projects there that would give renewed hope to young people that they can still make it even without leaving their home countries. They can do better than coming to Europe by staying home and getting an education and getting the necessary training in a trade or a profession that would bring them respectable incomes so that there would be no need to leave their countries. These are part of our long term aims insha Allah. I do not want to go into the minute details right now because they are all in the pipeline and the projects will come insha Allah.

LN: Imam, Daru Salaam Islamic Centre is not the only Islamic centre in Norway and of course it is an affiliate of Green Jihad; so my question is, what is your relationship with the Islamic Council of Norway and your relationship other Mosques , are they aware of your this initiative?

IES: Yes, Alhamdulillah like I mentioned in the beginning Daru Salaam Islamic Centre is a member of the Islamic Council of Norway which is an umbrella organization for all Masjids and Islamic Organizations in Norway and I have been for many years a member of the Imams Committee which serves as an advisory board to the main executive of the Islamic Council. They were the people that got me involved in issues of Climate Change in the first place, by asking me to represent them at the COP conferences. In fact, last year I travelled together with the president of the Council as part of the interfaith delegation to the meetings in Paris and I am happy to mention here that the current annual report that the Islamic Council is about to publish for 2015 features very prominently our activities related to issues of Climate Change and the establishment of Green Jihad which is an affiliate of Daru Salaam Islamic Centre.

LN: I just want to draw you back to the trip you had to Paris at the COP 21. A report came out there about some Imams and religious leaders who were showing concern for the impacts of Climate Change by fasting and leaders of other faiths like priests, through music; can you elaborate more on that.

IES: The trip to Paris was in November – December actually last year. The “fast for the climate” is like a movement that started in Warsaw in 2014. It was inspired actually by the then chief negotiator of the Philippines who at the very beginning of the conference in Warsaw vowed in his speech that he will fast for as long as his people in the Philippines continue to suffer. It coincided with a terrible typhoon in that Island country that destroyed many lives and properties. He vowed to fast until the UN Conferences came to a final, comprehensive, binding and just agreement for Climate Justice the world over. It was there that faith delegations that were in attendance as part of civil society got together. I was invited to join and was part of the panel that drafted the agreement or the concept of “fast for the climate”. I was there to represent Islam. There we agreed, spearheaded by the Lutheran Youth World Federation that we would fast the 1st of every month until the next COP in 2014. That was the one held in Lima, Peru. The one in Warsaw was in 2013 actually. I couldn’t attend the one in Lima because there was not enough funding for many people to travel from Norway. It was only a couple people from the interfaith delegation that travelled to Lima. In Lima it was decided that the fasting would continue. So we continued until last year in Paris and that was where we did that stunt lunch during the COP meetings and the media coverage that followed. The movement however, continues, the fasting continues and the awareness creation continues until a lasting and just final solution is found and the current trend of climate change is addressed properly: that human beings take up the responsibility to clear up the mess we have created in violating the balance which Allah has placed on this planet especially concerning CO2 emissions.

LN: Thank you very much Imam for your time. You are involved in a very noble cause and we pray that Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala help you fulfill all your intentions and fulfill all your aims and objective for this noble organization called Green Jihad. Thank you very much for your time Imam

IES: Thank you for the interview. Alhamdulillah it was my pleasure and I am very proud, I’m humbled actually to be part of this. I’m very thankful to Allah and thank you all very much. Assalaamu aleikum wa Rahmatullah.

GAMBIAN INDEPENDENCE WEEKEND PROTEST – DATE: SATURDAY 20TH FEBRUARY

February 8, 2016

Uk-Gambia-Human - Rights - ProtestLondon, UK – UK Gambian activists will gather to hold public protests commemorating The Gambia’s 51st Independence anniversary at the Trafalgar Square in London.

Participants will converge at Trafalgar square by 12 mid-day and proceed to 10 Downing Street, where a petition will be delivered to the British Prime Minister’s office.

This is a call for all Gambians, sympathizers of the country and human rights organisations to turn out in their numbers to participate and keep the pressure on Yahya Jammeh’s APRC Regime. 2016 is an important year for all Gambians and a genuine opportunity for change with elections set to take place in December.

The petition will highlight cases of human rights violations orchestrated by Yahya Jammeh’s regime for the past twenty-one years and will boost past efforts to place sanctions against the Gambian government for its crimes of human rights and rule of law in The Gambia. Some of the key highlights include: • Jammeh’s unconstitutional announcement of The Gambia as an Islamic State in December which is a potential for escalation of terrorism        activities in the West African Sub Region

• Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission’s refusal to entertain Opposition parties and Civil Society concerns for a fair elections by    implementing meaningful electoral reforms

• Continuous and enforced disappearances of Gambian citizens, and the critical condition of Radio Journalist Alhagie Ceesay currently diagnosed with an enlarged liver in prison On Thursday 18th February, Independence Day, the petition will be issued to the Foreign Office of the British government, the European Union and other organisations such as the Commonwealth and Amnesty International. On Saturday, 20th February 2016:

• 12 midday meet up at Trafalgar Square

• 2pm march to 10 Downing Street

For more information please contact Salifu Joof on 07492 759911 or Yusef Taylor (Flex Dan).

EX IMMIGRATION OFFICER PA WALLY SARR FACING POSSIBLE REMOVAL FROM GERMANY TO THE GAMBIA WHERE HE COULD FACE TORTURE OR EVEN DEATH

February 4, 2016
CORPORAL PA WALLY SARR UNDER COMMANDO TRAINING

CORPORAL PA WALLY SARR UNDER COMMANDO TRAINING

Pa Wally Sarr (pictured above) was an ex corporal at the Immigration Department in the Gambia who was attached to the task force office during his tenure is at the risk of being deported back to the Gambia by the German Immigration Authorities. While in the Gambia, Corporal Sarr was assigned on a dangerous mission that he knew was meant to harm innocent citizens and after giving excuses to avoid being part of such unlawful mission, he was arrested and later told to report to the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA), which is well-known for so many disappearances of officers and civilians alike. Having got a tip-off from a fellow colleague within the task force who works for the NIA that he must leave the country if he can as his eminent arrest was issued from the top meaning from the office of the President which many Gambians avoiding to name directly calls the top, Pa Wally Sarr who hails from Amdalai a border village bordering Gambia and Senegal escaped to his home village and entered Senegal.

He went to the Senegalese capital Dakar living with a friend he met while working at the Banjul International Airport in the Gambia. The lady became kind to Mr. Sarr and she facilitated his travel to Italy using a fake Pass Port as even Senegal was not safe for Corporal Sarr. Arriving in Italy Sarr proceeded to Germany on the 28 of August 2012 and claimed Asylum on the 3rd of September the same year.

German authorities according to Mr Sarr claimed they did not belief his story that his life would be endangered when he is returned to the Gambia and he is in terrible fear for his life. All Gambians who can do something please come to Mr. Sarr’s aid as we all knew the regime in Banjul and what they are capable of doing. Mr Sarr’s life could be seriously endangered when returned. Write to the German Authorities and appeal on Mr. Sarr’s behalf.

DRAMA AT BANJUL INT’L AIRPORT AS GAMBIA’S DICTATOR REMAINED IN FLIGHT FROM ADDIS ABABA AU SUMMIT FOR NEARLY ONE HOUR. SAUL BADJIE RESURFACED

February 1, 2016
Dictrtor Jammeh walking towards a mounted guard of honour at Banjul International Air Port

Dictator Jammeh walking towards a mounted guard of honour at Banjul International Airport

Dictrtor Jammeh stepping out of the Plane at Banjul International Air Port

Dictator Jammeh stepping out of the Plane at Banjul International Airport

Our Kibaaro agents in the Gambia have reported that Gambia’s Dictator Yahya Jammeh arrived at the Banjul International Airport this Monday at about 5pm from the AU Summit in Ethiopia Addis Ababa. What became so surprising to many including our kibaaronews agents was General Saul Badgie’s unexplained behaviour at the Airport. After the Presidential jet landed at the Airport this evening, the so called General was seen going into the Plane and stayed there for a while as the Dictator remained inside the plane. After sometime, the fake General came out looking busy speaking on the phone alone without the President. Our sources said the fake general did the same thing going in and out of the Plane for almost six times and coming out alone while President Jammeh remained inside.

Some impatient welcoming crew began murmuring and asking questions as this is the first time such things happened. Though no one knew what was going on but what we at Kibaaronews can confirm was President Jammeh remained inside the plane while Saul Badgie goes in and out for what looks like almost 1 hour that was when General Badgie finally went inside the plane for the last time and came out together with the Dictator and after a quick guard of honour, they swiftly headed to State House in what looked like war contingent. But now that General Saul Badgie has resurfaced again after going off the radar for some time, many of the opinion that he might be working with the secret militia reported to have been recruited at the Dictator’s home village of Kanilai in the forest bordering Southern Senegalese region of Cassamance where both Dictator Jammeh’s Father was alleged to have come from. Earlier Kibaaro reported about General Badgie’s sighting with Junglers and sudden disappearance when we received the tip off from our sources because every information is important to us for we intend to save Gambian lives including that of the stupid General who still continue to be used by a man who eyes him with suspicion.

President Jammeh is no doubt a smart fellow but never comfortable as he is always under the Kibaaro radar who as servants of the people do not take any chances with information coming to our desk. In a real democracy this is where professional journalism comes to play with vetting certain information but such things constantly could be suicidal under a dictatorship especially under murderous minded tyrants who are hard to predict. Reports also had it that Dictator Jammeh had disapproved the sending of AU peace keeping troops to war turned Burundi where government controlled militia are accused of mass killing of unarmed civilians. President Jammeh supported by many fellow Dictators who also commits similar things in their own countries claiming that sending troops to Burundi would violate that nation’s sovereignty but some delegates with the President on condition of anonymity castigated President Jammeh calling it open hypocrisy and a betrayal of his so called pan Africanist ideas when the same President Jammeh they claimed has sent peace keeping forces to other parts of Africa where there are conflicts and even while he was speaking in Addis Ababa, Gambian peace keepers are in Darfur and Southern Sudan also sovereign nations.

Gambians rely mostly on rumour which is locally referred to as radio Kankang due to lack of free flow of information in the Gambia because the dictatorship had in place laws that made it almost impossible for freedom of the media to operate. Therefore many professional journalist have realised that , any piece of news coming from Africa’s North Korea should be treated with urgency for the international community should know about it otherwise sleeping on just a single piece of information could cost lost of lives. In a country where people disappear without trace, people killed and burnt while some shot in broad daylight without any investigations being ever carried out and mostly believed to be state sponsored criminality at play all the time. We hope and pray that whatever Dictator Jammeh and General Badgie intend to do, Gambia civilians would have God’s protection in the coming days and months.

US CHARITY GIVES MORE THAN D280,000 MATERIALS TO SIKA LOWER BASIC

January 29, 2016
Mr & Mrs Sonko presenting a school bag to one of the students

Mr & Mrs Sonko presenting a school bag to one of the students

Big Dreams Incorporated, a charitable organisation founded in Georgia, USA in 2011, Tuesday donated school materials to more than 250 students at Sika Lower Basic School in Sika village, Upper Niumi District.

The donation is part of the association’s aim of making a difference in the life of children all over the world.

The donated materials, worth more than D280,000, included school bags, pens, pencils, shoes, toothpastes and brushes, water bottles among others.

Mamina Ebrima Sonko, co-founder of Big Dreams, said the objective of the foundation is to help students in the rural areas of The Gambia.

Mr Sonko, also the chief finance officer (CFO) of the foundation, explained that their ultimate objective is to get the students succeed in school.

A native of Sika residing in the US with his family, Mr Sonko said the donation will help immensely because he has seen that some students who lost their books or have it destroyed due to lack of school bags.

The water bottles, he said, will also help immensely because the kids used to drink from the same cup and that is very unhealthy because of one has a disease, it can be passed to the others.

Mr Sonko said they do not want to make any promise but they have big dreams such as provision of satellite containers with computers to schools so that the rural areas can be connected to the world.

The charity’s plans also include equipping school libraries, and supporting school feeding programmes in rural areas so that children can have notorious meal.

Dominiquera Sonko, president of the foundation, said anytime they help students and communities, they have added motivation to do more.

Zaekaria Sonko, fundraising coordinator for the foundation, said giving back to the community means a lot to them.

Lamin Kujabi, chairman and Gambia coordinator of Big Dreams, called on other philanthropists to emulate Big Dreams and help in other areas to complement the government’s efforts.

Mr Kujabi who was also deputising for the permanent secretary, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, said the government cannot do it all alone.

Kebbeh Kinteh, headmaster of Sika Lower Basic School, thanked the donors for the gesture.

Pa Modou Sallah, cluster monitor, Albreda Cluster, said the doors of all schools within the cluster are open to Big Dreams for help anytime.

Yunkuba Sanneh, chairman of the school management committee, and Demba Sonko, a representative of the village Alkalo, both commended the donors for giving back to the community.

Author: Cherno Omar Bobb

Source: thepoint.gm

BREAKING NEWS: WHERE IS GENERAL SAUL BADJIE?

January 21, 2016
WHERE IS SAUL BADGIE? IS HE DEAD

Where is Saul Badjie? Is he dead?

COMANDING DICTATOR AND PROFESSOR OF BETRAYAL

Commanding dictator and Professor of betrayal

General Saul Badjie of the Gambia national army, has been missing from public for a while now. Yet most people seem not to notice and rumour has it that he either disappeared like late Daba Marena or is somewhere where he is not on his own free will. Kibaaro’s chief Gambian investigator went round asking secret questions and what we have so far gathered is General Saul Badgie is nowhere to be seen publicly.

His close kinsmen/women claimed they could not  see him for some days now as there is still heavy security presence at his residence at Nemasu and we can authentically confirm that the last persons the General was seen with were three of the notorious Junglers, Malik Jatta, Modou Jarju and Suwandi Camara near his compound at Nemasu. Someone who wished to remain anonymous also told Kibaaronews that the four were seen in the middle of the night by the Banjul International airport junction in Yundum. That was the last anyone could have claimed to have seen General Badjie in public. It was alleged that Yahya Jammeh personally was lately avoiding the general and as a result, his disappearance is kept a secret from most Gambians. We will keep pursuing this story until we establish the facts to share with you Gambians. Stay with Kibaaronews!

PRESS RELEASE: GAMBIAN ARTISTS RECORD A TRIBUTE SONG FOR MUSA AFIA NGUM

January 11, 2016
Afia-Ngum-TributeBarely less than 24 hours after the demise of Musa Afia Ngum, a few of his admirers came together and set up the Musa Afia Ngum Tribute Committee whose mandate is to maintain the legacy of the legend and raise funds for his family. The committee started by setting up a Gofundme account, which currently has £380 raised between October and December of 2015. Donations can still be made at: https://www.gofundme.com/wr6d7jb8 . If you live in the UK, you can still make cash or check donation by directly payment to account: MR M B JENG, BARCLAYS BANK PLC, AC: 10479624, SC: 201053 or contact Njok Malick Jeng on 7957208129
If you live in Sweden, contact Mr Buhary Gassama on 46739105583 to discuss possible options of donating locally. If you live in the US, contact coach Pa Samba Jow on 301-547-9573 or Pa Ousman Joof on 404-593-6215 or wellsfargo savings Account number 1304651498 to discuss ways and means of contributing. Folks in Gambia can contact the family directly on 303-9110 to donate.The second part of the project is to create a tribute song in honor of the late legend. After several consultations, the committee came up with two versions: a Mbalax version and an R&B version, both of which feature several Gambian artists. Both tracks were created, mixed and mastered by Pa Bahoum of Soul House Studios in Stockholm, Sweden; a part of Joevibes Productions. The vocals were recorded at World Vibes Records by ENC in The Gambia and at various studios in the USA and Europe.

After three months of hard work, the Mbalax version of the Musa Ngum Tribute Song is set to be released on Saturday, January 16th. 2016 while the R&B version is slated for release at a later date. Both songs will be released online and on local radio stations in Gambia and Senegal. They will also be available for download on Soundcloud.

Shortly after they are released, music videos will follow. Pa Abdou Waggeh of Wax media will create the music video for the Mbalax version whilst Alhagie Manka of State of Mic will produce the video for the R & B version.

The third and final stage of this project will be to organize a tribute concert for the legend at the first anniversary of his passing in October 2016. The committee is asking for donations from all and sundry to support the family of Musa Ngum since he was their main breadwinner and his sudden passing has left them with financial issues beyond their collective ability to solve.

On behalf of Musa Ngum’s family, we wish to thank everyone who participated in this wonderful project especially the artists who took part in the Mbalax version: Mbye Gaye, Pa Omar Jack, Sheikh Samba, Abou and Fafa, Faya Ngum, Sura Suso, Tapha Artist, Sambou Suso, Ida Mbye, Alieu of Humanity Stars, Cess Ngum and Fatou Mbye. We also extend heartfelt thanks to the artists who participated in the R & B version whose names will be released prior to the release of the song. We would also like to thank Pa Bahoum of Soul House Studios and our co-ordinator on the ground in The Gambia, Pa Modou of Humanity Stars for their tireless efforts in making the tribute song effort a reality. We would finally like to thank everyone who helped in one way or the other towards the realisation of this wonderful project. We pray for Musa’s soul to rest in peace. AKASA!

The Musa Afia Ngum Tribute Committee.