Officials of the Jammeh Foundation for Peace (JFP) Monday presented a cheque of D5 million to the Foundation's founder and chief patron, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh, at a ceremony held at the Cabinet room in State House.
The money was raised during the JFP gala dinner held on the 7th December 2012 at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi.
Receiving the cheque, President Jammeh returned thanks and praises to Allah for the occasion. He also thanked all those who contributed towards the activities of the Foundation. He equally thanked Amsterdam-Banjul Challenge among other major and minor sponsors, including Ardy Sarge and his team for their continuous support to the Foundation.
"On behalf of the president of the Foundation, Her Excellency the First Lady Madam Zineb Yahya Jammeh and on behalf of my family, I want to thank every Gambian and non-Gambian who has been contributing and continues to contribute towards the Jammeh Foundation for Peace (JFP)," he said.
He continued: "I wouldn't have been able to do so without the hundreds of thousands of Gambians and non-Gambians who participated in the event. The produce from the farms are what we used to finance the Foundation but as a single farmer, there is no way I could have so many farms that would sustain the Jammeh Foundation for Peace without the help of the people."
The president went on to commend those he described as very 'special Gambians' some of whom worked voluntarily for the Jammeh Foundation for Peace Hospital free of charge for the past 15 years.
"We will work towards having to pay them on salary because if there is any qualification required for any job to be done, I think there is no better qualification than somebody who has his/her heart in what he is doing and did so voluntarily for more than 15 years. So, we will work towards compensating them adequately as well as making sure that they are paid salary. They deserve it because they have responsibilities," he added.
The Gambian leader also thanked those who have devoted most of their time and resources to the Foundation.
"As members of the society, we have a role to contribute to make sure that all of us live a better life. So, once again, I want to congratulate and thank you for this wonderful achievement, but you still have a lot of fund-raising to do and the challenge now is to build a One thousand, one hundred and eleven (1111) bed hospital and by the grace of Almighty Allah by 2015, this hospital would be inaugurated. So we have a lot fund-raising to do and we count on the benevolence of the people -individuals, corporate bodies and the people outside of this country," he remarked.
The vice president and minister of Women's Affairs, Her Excellency Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, thanked the Gambian leader for initiating the Foundation, describing it as "laudable". She also spoke extensively on the numerous benefits the Gambian people derive from the Foundation, adding that this has made the Foundation a household name in the country.
VP Njie-Saidy emphasised that JFP is not just President Jammeh's Foundation.
Her words: "He is just leading it as the chief patron and founder. We are the owners and let us see it as ours. Whatever it gets, comes back to the Gambian people. Let us not see it as President Jammeh's Foundation. He set it for us. So every Gambian is a shareholder in it because the benefits from it go beyond the source of The Gambia. So, we should all contribute to the Foundation. It could be me or you. That is what it has always been and will continue to be."
Speaking earlier, the chief executive officer of the Foundation, Nancy Njie, thanked Allah for making the day possible, while describing the 2012 JFP gala dinner as one of the best and most successful one the Foundation ever held. "We thank you very much," she said, referring to the sponsors.
"People have supported us from all walks of life. They contributed immensely towards the realisation of the dinner," she stated further.
While thanking the First Lady of the Republic, Her Excellency Madam Zineb Yahya Jammeh, who is the president of the Foundation, Njie also used the opportunity to thank the Gambian leader for appointing her as the CEO of the Foundation. She promised to live up to expectation.
"I want to assure you that I will deliver to the best of my ability and make sure that whatever I do is the right thing, because I know the task ahead of me," she assured.
For his part, Dr Ardy Sarge, the chairman of the fund-raising committee on behalf of the committee also thanked the sponsors for their contribution. He acknowledged that the gala dinner was made possible as a result of the call for all and sundry to support the Foundation.
"We received a massive request for tables from parastatals, private companies and other individuals after the call," he said, adding that this was the biggest and most successful gala dinner they ever had. "We are proud to announce that at this dinner, we have raised a sum of five million dalasi from the sales of tables and donations from our sponsors," he disclosed.
Dr Sarge, at that juncture, thanked Africell, which he singled out as their main sponsor. "They have been with us all along and this wouldn't have been possible without the wisdom and encouragement from Your Excellency the president. We sincerely value your leadership and we pray for your health and long life in this country," he concluded.
The minister for Health and Social Welfare, Hon. Bala Garba Jahumpa expressed gratitude to the JFP for complementing the health service delivery of the country.
According to him, the money gained from the fund-raising is ploughed back to the Gambian society, either through the educational sector, youth development or women empowerment.
"We at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare are quite aware of the strong collaboration we have with the Jammeh Foundation for Peace. It has been helping us with hospital equipment and consumables at the hospitals level," Minister Jahumpa said, citing a problem at the Kaur Health Centre, which was eventually fixed by the JFP among a host of other similar problems.
"For us at the Ministry are aware of the numerous supports rendered to us by the Jammeh Foundation for Peace which complements hugely the health service delivery of the country," he further remarked.
He added that the JFP, through the leadership and contribution of the Gambian leader is also contributing immensely to the health sector.
Other speakers at the ceremony included Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie, Fatou Lamin Faye and Dr. Njogu Bah, ministers of Tourism and Culture, Basic and Secondary Education and Presidential Affairs respectively. They thanked the Gambian leader for initiating a foundation they said is geared towards not only complementing the health service delivery but also improving the life of many Gambians.