Samaritana was founded in 2014 by Amani James and her husband Paddy in response to God’s call to go to West Africa. Both come from Social and Youth Work backgrounds. The Gambia is our home.
Amani, 17 years with Youth for Christ/USA, and now also a Lawyer here in the Gambia. Paddy, an Anglican Priest of 25 years, with 30 years Social Work, Social Policy, experience with particular experience in Forensic Clinical Residential Team Leadership and Supervision.
We had previously served two years in our sister Organisation, Samaritana Philippines working under Filipino missionaries in very relevant ministries to life here in the Gambia.
From our own research we knew there was no organised ministry to girls and women hustling on the infamous Senegambia Tourist Strip in the Gambia. As well as, no ministry working with those working in brothels in the Kololi, Kotu, Manjai and Serekunda Market areas. Anti-Sex Trafficking ministry was also missing from the picture.
Beginning with night outreach and home visitations, a holistic program of intervention has been slowly and gently developing over the last four years.
We had the opportunity to apply for a Grant via Youth For Christ, Gambia, to build an Cafe in the heart of the Tourist Strip area to provide a safe place for women who were on the strip to meet and share life challenges.
The Gambia is a land where jobs are extremely few and far between and even then appalling wages and lousy conditions are the norm.
We both know, only God offers us, the freedom, love, peace and hope that we all long for in our lives.
These women too, long for freedom from selling their bodies yet they still need enough money to live on and bring up their children. Samaritana Gambia represents that hope and future for those who are brave enough to seek a different, better life.
Jesus said of himself, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. The Gospel according to John Chap 8 v 36. For your information we are careful not to proselytise. God has always promised to respond to the cry’s of our hearts.