Interview with Ansumana, Director of ARRDO Gambia

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Q.Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Ansumana Dibba and I am the Director of ARRDO, Muslim Aid’s partner organization.  I was born in May 1973 in Gambia. I grew up in the surroundings of Bakau. My parents were poor and struggled to send me to school. I was the eldest of five children and helped look after my younger siblings and also helped my parents till the soil to help them earn an income. I attended Bakau primary school, Latrikunda secondary school and went to Muslim High School in 1995.  I was awarded the Most Outstanding Contribution to Muslim High School where I formed a writing club and engaged the students in extracurricular activities. I also served as Chairperson of the first National Youth Council of the Gambia representing the Kanifing Municipality. In my spare time I enjoy reading and playing tennis.

Q.What has sparked your interest in working for the child support programme?

One day I was out selling peanuts, I approached a tourist from Sweden who asked me why I wasn’t in school. We became friends and he asked what I wanted to become and I said a Doctor. When the man went back to Sweden, he arranged to sponsor me, this allowed me to finish primary education and attend high school. Despite various challenges, I managed to complete University. While my peers moved to America or the UK, I chose to stay in Gambia and use my education to give back to the future of my country.

I am extremely grateful for the sponsorship as without this support I wouldn’t be where I am today. In High School, I received training on Health Education from the Nova Scotia Gambia Association and have used this knowledge to teach children in more than 40 schools. At University I received awards for my contribution to research work and for my role as the Public Relations Officer.

I want to give the children of Gambia the same opportunities that I had. I want to give them the chance to develop themselves.  Having been a beneficiary of a child sponsorship programme I know exactly how it feels to be given the opportunity to reach your potential and achieve your dreams.

Q.What motivates you in your work?

What motivates me most in my work is to see the change my job is making to peoples lives. Working with Muslim Aid I have managed a Bore Hole Project which provided 12 villages with access to clean drinking water.  The beneficiaries are genuinely grateful for the help and it’s inspiring to know the difference the water has made to these communities.  I have also conducted a range of trainings in the areas of Health and Personal Devlopment to  more than 2000 people and it’s motivating to see those same people now working in different fields in Gambia and overseas.

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