POGHEP Changes Women’s Lives/Associate Passes Bar Exam
One of the unintended consequences of the Bakindik Youth Development Association’s (BYDA) success has been that "married women now see their children continuing to benefit from school and see prospects of them benefiting personally, thus they break the cultural barriers and find time within their busy schedules to participate in our activities," stated BYDA president Ebrima Jallow, who just passed the Gambian Bar Exam.
Jallow explained that married women traditionally do not mingle with single men and ladies, and they are often too busy conducting their chores to participate in BYDA projects. However, with the support of Port Of Harlem magazine readers through the Port Of Harlem Gambian Education Partnership, they have had more successful projects and that have led to a noticeable increase in the participation of married women.
Since 2017, POHGEP has fully or co-funded most of their projects that required funds including $100 to buy school supplies for about 50 students who did well academically. In Bakindik, students like Jallow yearn to excel without the benefits of electricity. And, "the children have access to just a few books provided by the government to use during school hours," added Jallow.
The lack of having books is changing now, too. POHGEP has provided 162 new, age appropriate books and funds to start a library in one of the local schools and provides used clothing for the group to sell to raise funds for their other projects.
Having passed the bar, Jallow will now have to complete a "pupilage" for a year before being able to practice law as an apprentice for another three years with a lawyer who has been a member of the bar for at least ten years before being able to practice law on his own. He is currently a court clerk for the Judiciary of The Gambia.
Despite his work and family duties, Jallow says he has no thoughts of abandoning the group in his home village. "My community helped me to be who I am today and giving back to my community is a passion and a duty to me," he says.
However, challenges remain. One of the biggest challenges for BYDA remains the ability to raise funds for their projects. Nevertheless, Jallow sees his progress as personal and communal. He added that his career advancement places him in "a better position to move BYDA to a higher ground."