Maison de la Gare

Maison de la Gare's mission is to achieve integration of the begging talibe street children into formal schooling and productive participation in Senegalese society. Tens of thousands of talibe children beg on the streets of Senegal for 6 to 10 hours each day for their food and for money to give the "teacher" or Marabout who controls them. They live in unconscionable conditions in "daaras", without access to running water, rudimentary hygiene or nurture, often without shelter and subject to severe abuse. Human Rights Watch published a widely distributed description of this situation in 2010, "Off the Backs of the Children". Maison de la Gare is acting with t...
Mar 13, 2013

Celebrating One Year of Progess, with GlobalGiving

Talibes leap for the sky in MDG soccer tournament
Talibes leap for the sky in MDG soccer tournament

Maison de la Gare has benefited enormously from its association with GlobalGiving over the past year.  Donations have totaled over $9,900 from 210 donors.  We are grateful for your support of hope for a new life for the begging talibé street children of Senegal.

Thanks to your caring, Maison de la Gare’s projects in Saint Louis are flourishing and changing children’s lives.  The five pictures in this report were taken in the past weeks by two volunteers from France, Gwen Gueguen and Michael Gobert.  They represent well five core programs for the children:

- Sports, giving hundreds of boys an opportunity for a break from their daily hours of begging, to simply play and be children.

- Providing nutritious food, allowing the talibés to take time from their usual begging for this food, and to participate in literacy and arts classes, sports, gardening and other Maison de la Gare programs.

- Arts activities and excursions, an enormous enrichment for a life of begging and abuse.

- Health care and hygiene instruction, both in the infirmary in Maison de la Gare’s centre and in the daaras where the children live.

- Working in the productive garden in Maison de la Gare’s centre, and selling its produce in the market.

TODAY is a perfect opportunity to renew your commitment to Maison de la Gare, and support the continuation of this incredibly valuable work. 

Today only, Wednesday, March 13th starting at 9:00 a.m. E.D.T., GlobalGiving will add 30% to your donation, until the available funds run out.

Please, seize this opportunity.  Thank you.

A talibe child enjoys his nutritious baguette
A talibe child enjoys his nutritious baguette
Child intent on coloring in MDG library
Child intent on coloring in MDG library
Issa & Michael care for injured talibe in daara
Issa & Michael care for injured talibe in daara
MDG
MDG's growing garden give talibes new skills

Links:

Jan 15, 2013

16-year-old volunteer's experience of the talibes

Amazing talibe children encountered by Ann Pille
Amazing talibe children encountered by Ann Pille

A 16-year-old Canadian high school student from Montreal, Ann Pille, spent a week with Maison de la Gare in September of 2012 with her aunt Karen Hornby, a registered nurse.  Ann has prepared a moving report on her experiences, her understanding of the situation of the talibé street children of Senegal, and Maison de la Gare's work to improve their lives.  Her full report is attached.  Here are three excepts:

Maison de la Gare: A Ray of Hope - "Maison de La Gare is a non-profit organization, a political and secular, founded in 2007 by ten Senegalese to help the talibés of St-Louis. They provide medical care, food, education, clothes, emotional help, lessons on hygiene, access to showers and hope to the boys living in this terrible situation. They help boys who have run away return to their families and investigate claims of child abuse. The most important thing that they do is provide a safe place for the talibés to come and just be kids for a while. They give them hope for a better future where their life is not spent begging for the person who is supposed to protect them."

A Story of Hope - "Now I have a message to pass on. It is a message from one of the marabouts that we met. It is a message of good will. Not all marabouts are the same, however they get painted with the same brush. This particular marabout did not choose this profession to make money. It was handed down to him by his father. He does not make his boys beg for money and he does not beat them. In fact, all he asks that they do is go to their “maraines” houses to get the food that they leave out. He is always calm and willing to ask for help in order to improve the boys’ lives. He is letting his boys be enrolled in school and has taught them about the importance of good hygiene. He is really doing his best considering the situation. He has said that if the government were able to give him enough money to move all of the boys, then he would go back to the country. This would mean that the boys would be able to live with their families and only come to him for classes. I think that this message is important because it shows that in some cases the marabouts are also victims of the system."

Something Truly Amazing - "There is one thing that I noticed on this trip that will stick with me, no matter where I go. This thing is the amazing spirit of the boys. They live in a situation that we cannot even imagine. Every day they face beatings, lack of food, injuries and diseases. In this situation many of us would give up hope, but they are the complete opposite of hopeless. They are filled with curiosity and a genuine willingness to learn. They are incredibly smart and creative. They find a way to be happy, which I found incredible considering that those of us who are fortunate enough to live in industrialized countries are so unhappy with everything. These boys gave me a gift, even if they didn’t know it. I went to Senegal with the goal of discovering how I could help them, but I think that they helped me more then I was able to help them. They showed me that if they can be happy with so little, than I should be happy with everything I have. They showed me that it’s not what you have that makes you happy but rather who you’re with and your attitude towards the world. I will always be thankful for that. This experience has definitely changed for the better the way that I look at my life."

Talibes in daaras served by Maison de la Gare
Talibes in daaras served by Maison de la Gare

Attachments:
Dec 31, 2012

A Welcome New Member for Maison de la Gare's Team

Mapate Bousso, Maison de la Gare
Mapate Bousso, Maison de la Gare's administrator

Maison de la Gare is delighted to announce that a new member has joined its project team in Saint Louis, Mapaté Bousso.  As Maison de la Gare has grown, so has the urgent need for a member of the team to take charge of the myriad administrative details that need attention every day.

Mapaté holds a Master’s degree in Commerce and International Business Management from the Faculty of Economic Science and Management of Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar.  He takes his new role with Maison de la Gare very much to heart.  In his words in his letter of motivation:

“I am deeply moved by what I have read and seen of Maison de la Gare’s work, and feel very proud of how you have struggled on behalf of these children.  I agree with you on the question of talibé begging.  It is a public calamity which corrodes Senegalese society at its core.  All human beings must struggle for its eradication, whatever their social class, race or religion.  Aren’t these individuals born free and equal?  It would be a grave injustice – even a crime – to not take action in the face of the intolerable situation of the talibés.  These children, left to themselves and deprived of their most fundamental rights (food, clothing, medical care, education and happiness), deserve our full attention.  Wouldn’t it be a happy thing to fan the flame of hope that has been extinguished in them since they were labelled ‘talibés’?  Thus, I can only embark with great enthusiasm on such a noble mission.”

Mapaté is assuming responsibility for all administrative and financial aspects of Maison de la Gare’s operations, working closely with Issa Kouyaté and other members of the team.  He will administer Maison de la Gare’s web site (www.mdgsl.com), set up and maintain records of the talibé children participating in the association’s various programs, prepare monthly reports following the development of Maison de la Gare and of the children whom it serves and, with Issa, take charge of financial reporting and financing efforts.

A very warm welcome to our team, Mapaté.  We are counting on you!!

Mapate with talibe children in MDG
Mapate with talibe children in MDG's office
Mapate at work with Canadian partner Rod LeRoy
Mapate at work with Canadian partner Rod LeRoy

Links:

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