A charitable foundation that seeks to support teachers and recognise teaching as an enterprising profession has recently been established in The Gambia.
The charity known as 'Teaching Award Trust-The Gambia' will annually award extraordinary teachers who have made an indelible mark in the teaching profession in the country and as well establish a trust fund to support teachers financially in times of emergencies and to meet pressing social needs like good housing and improved standard of living.
The charity was formed because it was realised that teachers have a great role to play in the development of society. It is on them that hope is placed for the orientation of the future technocrats and administers of society. This does not only make the service of teaching not only professional but further demands that teachers regulate the morals of students by inculcating in them the mentality to recognise and value their dignity, to have respect and self-esteem. As such, the profession deserves the highest recognition and reward from society; the foundation seeks to fill this void.
“Throughout the history of The Gambia, we hear of exceptional teachers and lecturers, who help students aim high and achieve their potential, often meeting and overcoming considerable challenges along the way themselves. The Teaching Award Trust offers every Gambian the opportunity to say “thank you”, to the teacher who has helped them most,” says Alasan Gent Ceesay, the founder and chairman of the charity.
“Our aim is to ensure that teaching is noble and profitable so that everyone can look up to the profession with a view to changing lives and society. After all, teachers are the most important people in society because in every aspect of human life there is learning which is the receiving end of teaching itself. We are out to translate that fact into reality,” added Gibairu Janneh, secretary general of the charity.
Fatoumatta Ndure, members of the trustees committee, also noted that it is about time that teachers were recognised in a systematic and sustainable way. They are often taken for granted, yet, their work shapes the thoughts and actions of young people, who in turn become leaders; consequently, teachers do shape the future and society's direction.
Nfally Fadera, the communication officer, said: “Teaching Award Trust The Gambia is the missing puzzle in the promotion and attainment of quality education in the country. This is a mechanism aimed at not only putting teachers on their toes but also to recognise the amazing work they're doing making and preparing future leaders. I think this is brilliant initiative and I feel hugely honored to be part of it.”
Singateh aka Freaky Joe, a prominent a Gambian artist now based in Norway and also a trustee, added: “One of the highlights of the charity will be the award gala night at the end of each year. The glittering event will bring foreign diplomats and the nation's highest officials and citizens together to honour and celebrate exceptional teachers and teaching in the country. Selected winners will receive cash prizes and prestigious personalized accolade all the way from London. Picture it as OSCAR for teachers and teaching with full entertainment. ''
The organization has currently launched an 'inspirational teacher story' competition on its Facebook page. The competition invites people to write a story on the page about a teacher who they think has changed their lives. The winners of the competition according to the charity's chairman will receive valuable prizes among which include an iPad and iPhone.