The global COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the lethal Coronavirus, has tested the resiliency and exposed the vulnerability of communities and nations. From the United States to The Gambia, many individuals and families needed help during this health crisis to strengthen their resourceful and adaptive capacities. For some families, provisions like food items were not only essential needs but a survival demand. The Gambian community, both in Minnesota and The Gambia, have been subjected to economic depression and social deprivation due to the COVID-19 disaster.
As per its mandate, The Gambian Association in Minnesota has been unremittingly providing numerous support systems to its target beneficiaries. In early April 2020, the Association delivered COVID-19 care packages to over 50 Gambian households in Minnesota. Priority was given to homes with elders (particularly our lovely grannies), single mothers with kids, families with more than five members, and those in special need for help within our community.
Similarly, we have continuously been reminding our community members to comply with state and local COVID-19 related orders and regulations. We keep sending audio reminders about WHO and CDC recommended guidelines in the battle against this deadly virus. Key messages include (a) staying at home if they can, (b) washing their hands, (c) practicing social distancing by allowing 6 feet from others in a public space, (d) exercising alone, and (e) staying psychologically stable.
As part of our socio-psychological campaign, community members have been informed to practice social distancing and possibly avoid social isolation. They are encouraged to do other things that make give amusement, relief, and happiness, including participating in virtual social events and staying connected as a unified community while remaining supportive and responsive to one another’s needs.
Evidence shows that COVID-19 risk and vulnerability levels are higher in the least developed countries like The Gambia. The Gambian Association, with overwhelming contributions from our community members in Minnesota, further mobilized additional funds to support the neediest families in the rural Gambia. On July 27, 2020, the Association provided COVID-19 care packages to 70 households in the Lower River Region (LRR). The food items purchased from Karlilu.com include 70, 10L gallons of oil, and 70, 25kg bags of rice. The Association partnered with the Household Disaster Resilience Project (known as HELP-Gambia) for organizing a formal presentation of the items to the National Disaster Management Agency – The Gambia and subsequent delivering the packages to the intended beneficiaries. The Regional Disaster Coordinator, Momodou BK Ceesay, and two HELP-Gambia volunteers (Dawda Cham and Alieu Jallow) facilitated the transportation and delivery exercise in LRR on behalf of the Gambian Association in Minnesota.
PLEASE ADD A PARAGRAPH TO THANK OUR COMMUNITY MEMBERS. I WRITE THAT BETTER.
We also wish to send our gratitude to the NDMA, HELP-Gambia, and the media fraternity for their support and cooperation.