My name is Habi bah. I am a Gambian by nationality. I presently live at Kololi, Senegambia New Road, Banjul, The Gambia.
I am presently working as a cashier clinical services department at MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL UNIT THE GAMBIA at London school of hygiene and tropical medicine and a member of the Rotaract Club of Banjul. Additionally, I am the founder of Gift of life International The Gambia.
I am a mother of four kids. Two of these children were twins – one of which passed away after 5 days of life and the other had a congenital heart defect. After receiving the news of my son Amadu’s heart condition, I was shocked and devastated.
I experienced it all – pain, suffering, worries, sacrifices – that a mother could face when told that your child is suffering from a congenital condition that can only be cured through a surgery which is not available in your home country. And in order to provide your child the care he needs, you must travel abroad which entails lots of money you can’t afford.
While searching for help online, I came across Gift of lift international’s CEO Rob Raylman. Who makes it an effort to see my child got a new life. We struggled together to get my son his heart surgery at Boston Children Hospital.
While in the United States, part of my discussions with Rob was me showing interest to have GOL affiliated in The Gambia. I knew we have hundreds of children with similar or more complicated heart conditions back home (The Gambia). I promised him I will establish an affiliation when I got home.
As a mother of a survivor, I went through much hardship and thought of how many parents will be going through similar experiences. I took up the initiative to create Gift of Life International The Gambia to help give a new life to a child like my son. Also, to give hope to concerned parents who worry and watch their child go through all the suffering without been able to help them. I want to inspire parents to fight for their children and have the belief that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Gift of Life International The Gambia is now a not-for-profit organization and we have helped our first child – Ambrus. He is 14 years of age and will have his operation at St. Francis Hospital.
I pray I can continue to advocate for more children with heart disease and their parents in my country who need help.
Brenda Small is the Operations Consultant at Gift of Life International. She assumed this role in 2012.
Brenda was inspired to help children in need with heart disease after her third child was born with a complex heart defect and underwent successful open-heart surgery in her first year of life. Brenda learned of Gift of Life International in 2006 at which time she established Gift of Life Los Angeles where she holds the position of President. Between 2008 and 2012, Brenda volunteered her time to help with Gift of Life International in addition to running Gift of Life Los Angeles.
From 2012 to 2022, Brenda held the position of Director of Operations for Gift of Life International. Today, she continues this lifesaving work as Operations Consultant. Brenda also implemented the Nutritional Program in El Salvador in 2008 which has now provided nutritional support to more than 250 children and their families. Brenda has traveled with many of the Gift of Life training teams and witnessed these precious lives being saved.