By Buba Gagigo
The Gambian Students Association in Morocco (GSAM) issued a press release , calling on the Gambia government to pay their stipends, which they said have been delayed, severely impacting their ability to afford essential living expenses.
“The Gambian Students Association in Morocco, representing more than one hundred and fifty Gambian students studying in various institutions across the country, is deeply concerned about the prolonged delays in disbursing the Gambian government’s annual stipends to students. We are issuing this press release to draw attention to the dire situation we are facing, as these delays have severely impacted our ability to afford essential living expenses, including food, rent, and other necessities vital for our well-being,” they said.
The student group reports that the voices of Gambian students in Morocco are resonating louder than ever, highlighting a critical challenge they currently face; delayed stipends.
“Today, we seek to shed light on the profound impact of stipend delays on students’ lives and demand immediate action from relevant authorities. Our educational journey in Morocco began with ambitious dreams of acquiring knowledge, honing our skills, and contributing significantly to the development of The Gambia. However, we are currently facing a distressing situation where students are compelled to endure an entire academic year without receiving their annual stipend from the government of The Gambia.
“As time passes, the delay in disbursing the stipends has stretched beyond 12 months, placing an overwhelming burden on our shoulders. This predicament has made it exceedingly challenging for us to concentrate on our studies and achieve academic excellence. The persistent delays in receiving our stipends are causing far-reaching and deeply concerning consequences, threatening the very essence of our educational pursuits and aspirations,” they said.
The students said many of them rely heavily on stipends to cover their basic living expenses and said delayed stipends have thrust many students into financial hardship, depriving them of the ability to afford meals, rent, and other basic essentials necessary for a decent standard of living.
“With limited financial resources, we are facing food insecurity, compromising our health and well-being. Proper nutrition is essential for our academic performance and overall development. The situation is so serious that, as we write this release, some of us have barely had anything decent to eat for days. Rent costs constitute a significant portion of students’ expenses.
“Due to delayed stipends, many of us are struggling to pay our rents on time, putting us at risk of eviction and homelessness. The uncertainty caused by these delays is taking a toll on the mental health of students. The stress and anxiety of not knowing when our stipends will arrive have made it difficult for us to focus on our studies and achieve our academic goals,” they continued.
The Gambian students in Morocco also issued an ‘urgent’ call to all relevant authorities and stakeholders to promptly address the matter at hand.