Following an appeal to approximately 150 friends of the 38 years of partnership between Marlborough and Gunjur, the Marlborough Brandt Group has raised over £20,000 to support the poorest members of the Gunjur community who are seriously suffering as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
While currently there have only been ten cases of the Covid-9 infection and one death reported in The Gambia, every effort is being made to limit the spread of the disease. This means that the small shops in the Gunjur community are closed, food is becoming increasingly scarce and it is of course now the Holy month of Ramadan when people are anyway fasting during the day and there is little food for the Iftar evening meal.
A basic essential commodity in The Gambia is rice. Until some years ago by far the majority of rice was produced in the country, but as a result of climate change, it has become increasingly difficult to grow rice in The Gambia. With sea levels rising and a much lower local rainfall, salination of the river Gambia which bisects the whole country from East to West has travelled an estimated 50 miles upstream, the salt in the water thus rendering it useless for the irrigation of rice fields. 90% of rice is now imported from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand and USA. As a result of the pandemic flights into The Gambia have been cancelled and stocks of rice are falling.
However, with the first £10,000 transferred to Marlborough Brandt Group’s partner non-governmental organisation TARUD (Trust Agency for Rural Development) this was sufficient for a team led by Baai Jabang, who many will remember speaking in St Peter’s Church in 2018 on the need to develop the mango industry in The Gambia, to purchase 420 sacks of rice which have been distributed to over 200 of the poorest families from all the eight different ethnic groups, Muslim and Christian in the community. A further £10,000 is being sent to Gunjur and more rice will be distributed. There is no question that this will save lives.
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