Our women, youths and children are very important part of our society. We often organize educational and entertainment programs for them thereby keeping them informed of certain issues that are very relevant to their lives. Our community is growing rapidly due to several reasons.
• Washington state is home to thousands of Gambians and by default it attracts a lot of people to want to come here.
• A lot of immigrants are finding live very hard in other states especially in the East coast and thus, there’s an exodus of immigrants moving to Washington which is considered a sanctuary state.
• A lot of Africans/Gambians have started building families here. Some of the people who came to the US in the 70s, 80s,and 90s are now getting old and retiring. They have kids and grandkids who are working and going to school. Since they are retired, most of them stay home with their grandkids.
• Since a lot of us have started building families here and our work, schools and family schedules make it hard for us to travel with our entire families to Africa, a good number of people always find it easier to bring our parents from Africa especially our moms to spend time with their grandchildren. A lot of the grandmas stay home to babysit their grandkids while their kids go to work or school especially during the week.
• GTP recognizing this fact decided to engage the grandmas.
• We want to break this barrier.
• We want to help our moms fit in the society.
• We want to empower our mothers and give them a platform to stay in touch and learn certain skills including writing and speaking English.
• We want to raise awareness about prominent issues affecting our society through our moms. Because of our culture and upbringing, we all listen to our moms a lot. Through them, we can convey a lot of messages and solve a lot of problems in our society. Our first step was to create a WhatsApp group exclusively for them where they interact daily, share ideas, inform each other about current and relevant issues affecting them and most importantly pray for their families. This initiative was welcomed by the grandmas themselves as well as their kids and the wider community.
On Friday, September 20th, 2019, we had a 2 hour meeting with representatives of the grandmas who told us the type of help they need from us. According to them, they will like to organize themselves into a group that will put together activities and programs to strengthen their general wellbeing. -Some of them will like to read and write English and Arabic. -Some of them need help to apply for a driver’s license. -Others need to learn to operate some household appliances such as the microwave, washer and dryer etc. On Saturday September 28th, the grandma’s held a Congress during which they elected their first set of executive who will run their affairs for the next 1 year.
During this event, the grandma’s decided that they want to launch their group on Saturday November 30th 2019 at the Ronald Methodist Church 17839 Aurora Avenue North, Shoreline WA. They want this launching to be symposium since they are our moms who often stay home to watch our kids, GTP will support them with all the logistics needed for the event such as venue, food, transportation, decoration, and entertainment. This is an important event for our community to have. Both the kids and grandkids look forward to supporting their grandparents.
In November of 2019, we supported our grandma’s in Washington to launch the Seattle Gambian Grandma’s Association. Since then, the grandmas have been providing traditional marriage counseling to struggling couples and make peace between younger people in broken relationships. Since most of them don’t have any formal education, once a month, we bring them together to interact and learn how to read and write English so that they can communicate with their grandkids and the wider public. The grandmas also help us to raise our kids according to our culture and tradition.
See attached links