Being far from home is no excuse for anyone to dump your positive culture and values. The idea of supporting your immediate neighbour falls into this category, which according to Momodou Jallow Drammeh, correlates with the popular saying that “charity begins at home.”
The Leader of United Kingdom Jarra Association (UKJA) says “Charity begins at home and that’s why our first target is to support those in need in our community.” He says there is no better place to start than Reading which headquarters the association. Mr. Drammeh applauds association members for “supporting such a venture especially during this time of the year when many people are in need of support.”
Established in August this year, the UKJA’s main goal is “to foster unity and cooperation” among Jarra natives. It also aims to revive the “Old Flames” of Jarra, which is “to count on each other when in need.”
It is in this regard that the association on Friday donated food, clothing and other essential items worth hundreds of Pounds to the homeless and rough sleepers in Berkshire. The items were presented to the Churches in Reading Drop in Centre (CIRDIC), a local charity that supports homeless and vulnerable people.
The bulk of the donated items came from association members across the UK, a gesture Mustapha Sanneh describes as “a true reflection of the values of our cultural heritage imbibed in us over the years.” Mr. Sanneh, who deputises for the association’s Chairman, says the response from members is simply overwhelming.
“We have walked the streets of this great country (United Kingdom) and found people sleep rough on the streets while others queue for food packs at various food banks and some searching for something to wear. We felt we owe them a duty of care hence the need to support them on humanitarian grounds,” Mr. Sanneh says. He says the association therefore feels obliged to give back to the less privileged community of a country that provides its members the opportunity to support their families in The Gambia.
A pioneer founder of the association is delighted that his people are reviving their inherited communal spirit.
“As Gambians, we are used to communal spirit of helping one another,” Kebba Nfally Darboe, the association’s Welfare Officer, notes. “We are part of this country and we want these people to know the fact that we are very much part of their community as demonstrated through our gestures, particularly in the build up to the festive period. We hope the donated items will go a long way to make someone’s Christmas a merry one,” Mr. Darboe adds, extending sincere “gratitude to CIRDIC for their collaboration in making sure that the donated items reach those who need them most.”
The Manager of CIRDIC appreciates the donation. “The word charity means love and it is therefore vital for us to show this love and care to the people whether we are in our nation or other nations,” says Mabel Boyd whose centre feeds over 50 needy people a day. She thanks the UKJA and urges other charities to follow their footstep.