Madison-Kanifing Sister City annual fundraising dinner

Tara Olivia Martens, Staff Writer

On the evening of Saturday, Oct. 19, Madison College sponsored a fundraiser for Kanifing Gambia. This African city has been one of Madison’s nine sister cities across the globe since 1998.

The event began with a social hour and which a wide range of local and international figures came to support the event.

One of the speakers who came the furthest distance was the city of Kanifing’s Mr. Taking Bensouda. There was also the mayor of Sun Prairie and his wife, and welcome remarks from Mayor Rhodes-Conway’s Deputy Mayor, Dr. Linda Vakunta.

One of the most important advancements that is in the process of being built is the establishment of a new library for the city of Kanifing. The various speakers who presented material for the evening Drew attention to the desire and ambition of the Gambian population, especially it’s youth.

With only one public library in the entire country of Gambia, a book becomes a rare treasure. What is happening in Madison is a project to sustain a library where are all of the materials (mostly books) are being donated by a group of eager volunteers who share a vision of having Madison’s sister city have its own Library.

Currently, there have been over 1500 books donated, but for a shipping container to be sent it may be a number of weeks and months more before there is sufficient amount of supplies and books for a cargo box to be sent to Gambia.

The catered events from the evening of Oct. 19 had a little over 100 guests who also stayed for the meal.

Various speakers from Gambia discussed the eager anticipation for area students from Gambia receiving quality education. As the Madison Kanifing Sister City Board Chair, Jerreh Kujabi stated: “These books are more than paper these books are opportunity.”

Many who study at various colleges in the United States lose track of the opportunity and privilege available for their taking. Kujabi shared his own experiences, stating “because there was no electricity in my village, five days a week, each night after dinner for almost four months, I trekked to the Management Development Institute in Kanifing to study at the facility in preparation for exams. The issue with electricity still persist. A library will transform the lives of young people in the municipality and beyond,” states Kujabi. Books and access to lights and electricity pair together perfectly. This is one of the basic forms of opportunity that is being offered through the Madison-Kanifing Sister City Program.

If you would like to find out more information about the Kanifing Sister City project or if you are interested in contributing financially and or volunteering for this project there is still time to act. Mayor Talib Ahmed Bensouda of Kanifing Gambia shared “I am very excited about the impact the Kanifing Municipal Library will have on the education and well-being of our young people.” Knowledge is power and books change lives.

For more information, the Madison-Kanifing Sister City Program can be found online at:

Mailing address: P.O. Box 70817 Madison, WI 53707

Kanifing-Madison Sister City project phone number: 608-287-4865