By Madi S. Njie

Members of the Gambia Association of Deaf and Heard of Hearing (GADHOH) has called for unity among members and work together towards achieving common objectives.

Speaking during events marking International Deaf Week Celebration, various members expressed the need for unity among members, stop gossiping, and work together, noting that division makes organisations fail.

Deaf Week is celebrated in the last week of September every year, but in The Gambia Deaf Week could not be celebrated as expected due to organisational challenges. “However, Gadhoh take it upon themselves to celebrate the Deaf Week this year on 11 and 12 October, by holding Congress and structuring a Gadhoh National Female Wing, bring together representatives from each of the 12 Gadhoh branches from all the regions of the country,” said Dodou Loum, Executive Director of Gadhoh in a brief chart.

The Congress held at the Gadhoh head office brought together delegates from all the 12 Gadhoh branches, in all regions of the country, took place on 11 October 2019 at the Gadhoh headquarters, elected Madam Binta Badjie – graduate of the American International University as the new President, replacing Mariama Baldeh a student at the Gambia College.

The National Female Wing of the Gadhoh was selected, comprising representatives from each of the 12 Gadhoh branches from various regions of The Gambia, during a meeting held on 12 October 2019 at the Ganhoh headquarters in Kanifing.

Addressing the gathering, Isatou Sanyang, one time President Gadhoh called for unity among deaf people and work together for common good.

She said all the 12 Gadhoh branches were represented during the Congress, and they are now selecting female wing, in which each of the branches will be represented, to form the Gadhoh female wing committee, geared to strengthen their women empowerment advocacy activities.

She called on members to take up their responsibilities, and not to consider the Board as Gadhoh, noting that ordinary members are equally very important. “Members are very important and need to work together,” she said. She  noted that some members have problems in their marriages, but added that they have a law that divorced wives should not be driven out of their marriage houses.

She expressed the need for members to stop back-biting each other, and help each other and work for common good.

She said she helped many girls to go through the Gadhoh skills training, and  they got jobs but later quit their jobs, because of low pay scale, which she said does not tell well. She therefore encouraged girls to cooperate, noting that problems lead to organisation’s failure.

Binta Badjie, the new Gadhoh President in her advise of life changing wisdom said “we are all born in different ways- some tall, some short, some black, some white; but we are beautiful because we are different. Some are short tempered and others forgive. We live in different places, but what brings us together is because we are a deaf community. If we want to develop, we have to unite. Today we the deaf people were having meeting not to discriminate men, because I am heading all Gadhoh members. In my Presidency I will benefit all members.

“We have representatives from other regions because we are one deaf family, and we have to work together. We know each other and we should respect each other. Some are teachers, others are doctors, some drivers, etc but we all complement each other. We are doing different works, yet we need each other. Hospitals operate in different areas, but all are working towards saving lives. Drivers can’t do the work of doctors, but they complement each other. Therefore we are all important. That is why every branch most has representative in the Gadhoh female wing. We want representative from all regions to develop Gadhoh,” she said.

Ms Badjie advised that representatives should not represent themselves in the communities, and should not keep knowledge gain to themselves, but to share with their members in their respective regions. She added that materials given to members should be shared equally, and that members should be ready to implement their plans.

She also noted that some boys used to come to the centre to interrupt classes of girls, which is uncalled for. She called on those engaged on interrupting their classes to desist from such acts, because the girls come to learn, in order to be self-independent. She noted that some girls come and keep charting until late and upon return back home their parents beat them. She said girls come to the centre to learn to be self-independent, and avoid depending on others, like some of their uncles who will rape them before giving them money. She also noted that some deaf people sit the whole day drinking Attaya, when they should go and read their book, to benefit
themselves.

She expressed the need to be advising each other for common good, adding that it takes nothing to advise a friend, other than offering words of mouth to change someone’s life for better. She said one Omar used to come to her Restaurant sitting down charting only, and she
advised him to be doing something, and now Omar is engaged in buying and selling fish, to  take care of himself.

She called on all to desist from gossiping or back-biting each other. “If you have problem discuss with both persons, to be united,” she said; and called on the deaf girls to respect themselves if they want to work   with others. She added that they face discrimination because “we don’t respect ourselves.”  She noted that some girls are followed by boys because they walk to impress them, and therefore called for change of attitudes. You can be friendly, jovial, but we have to respect ourselves.

Binta Nyanado, one of the newly selected Female Committee Members also re-echoed the need to work together as one. She emphasized the importance of peace, which can be attained by restoration of peace of mind. She said if you don’t have peace within yourself, you cannot have peace with others.

She also expressed the need to have clean heart, and wish each other the good we wish for ourselves, to instill peace in oneself. She discourages the idea of thinking bad about others, and called on all to free their minds and hearts, in order to have peace. “Have good feelings for others; hug and embrace people you have problems with,” she advised. She also discouraged people from thinking that they are better than others, and called on all to be good role models, cooperate and work together.

Mariama Baldeh outgoing Gadhoh President who chaired the meeting, among others said “what we want is development of Gadhoh, not gossiping and undermining each other,” and therefore called on all to unite and work together for common good.

Other speakers include Fatou Gaye, Mariama John all re-echoed the need for unity and work together, guide each other towards progress.

Meanwhile,the newly elected board members are: Binta Badjiev President, Muhammad Jaiteh- Vice President, Siaka Jammeh- Secretary, Binta Jammeh- Treasurer, and Muhammad Janko, Momodou Jah, Ndey Ceesay, Fanta Gaye, and Mariama Gomez board members.

Ends

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