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...
May 3, 2013

For the Love of the Beautiful Game

Victorious MDG team celebrates its win
Victorious MDG team celebrates its win

Maison de la Gare organizes regular football (soccer) tournaments for the talibes of Saint Louis. Football is universally adored, and the talibe children demonstrate an impressive level of skill as they play, despite poor nutrition and hydration and a lack of shoes on their feet. What they have no shortage of is determination, competitive spirit, and love for the beautiful game.

As the children waited for the bus that would transport them to the Senegol Field in Gandon, about 15 km from Saint Louis, they got pumped-up with djembe drumming, dancing, and a general spirit of celebration.  On the bus, which was packed to its limit with excited children, the celebrations continued with clapping, drumming, and chanting.

The tournament included three games, played among the teams fielded by associations dedicated to improving the talibes' lives, Maison de la Gare, Taliberte and Claire Enfance. Younger talibes, hopeful of a future spot on a team, watched attentively from the sidelines.

All the talibe players demonstrated heart and skill. But, Maison de la Gare's team was triumphant, winning both matches, 2-0 and 3-0, emerging as the victors for the day overall. The proud spirit of victory and sense of happiness clung to the Maison de la Gare children, staff, and international volunteers alike for the rest of the day, and beyond.

Djembe drumming, pumping up for the match
Djembe drumming, pumping up for the match
Young talibes dream of a future position on a team
Young talibes dream of a future position on a team
Lamine, team captain, proudly hoists the trophy
Lamine, team captain, proudly hoists the trophy
Apr 26, 2013

Talibe Children Discover their African Heritage

Young talibe fascinated by his first African oryx
Young talibe fascinated by his first African oryx

Maison de la Gare staff and international volunteers accompagnied thirty talibe children on a field trip to the Guembeul Natural Fauna Reserve, a half hour drive from Saint Louis in northern Senegal.  The excursion was a welcome holiday from the regime of forced begging that the boys live with every day. For some the talibes, it was the first time they had left the city in over five years and, for many, it was their first exposure to the rich natural environment that is part of their African heritage.

Young talibes were fascinated to hold baby sulcata turtles in their hands and they were astonished at the size of the turtles' 72-year-old father.  The children enjoyed searching for and spotting scimitar-horned onyx and dama gazelles, now all extinct in the African wild. 

The day was a delight for the children and adults alike.  It was a day of freedom to play, explore and simply enjoy being a child.  And, it sure beats begging.

30 excited talibes arrive at Guembeul Reserve
30 excited talibes arrive at Guembeul Reserve
Talibe children marvelling at a turtle
Talibe children marvelling at a turtle
The talibes happily gather for a photo souvenir
The talibes happily gather for a photo souvenir
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

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