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Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom

by Lets Be Ready
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom
Chance For All in an African Magical Classroom

Countries around the world celebrate women during the month of March with the international women’s day. However often in times the focus is too much on women and girls here. Still women’s conditions cannot be improved without an increased consciousness from men. In our centre, for the month of April, we decided to sensitize our young boys on girls and women issues and challenges.

We believe that change will only be possible if boys are taught very early the importance to respect girls and women. So we organized discussions around women’s rights and shared with the kids stories of inspiring Senegalese women. To better raise awareness on critical issues, discussions were also held to tackle issues such as consequences of early marriages or school dropouts for girls.

As boys who are already out of the French academic systems, the boys may not always be sensitive to girls education. In some areas, the place of the girl is still in the kitchen and her future is about taking care of her husband and children. Often, men do not really understand the importance of education for themselves; educating a girl cannot thus be a priority.

Changing behaviors and beliefs seems to be difficult but it is important to start talking with children very early on this issues. This can even avoid abuse between children and may help to reach new milestones in the fight against violence against women. Change is only possible if we involve men in the fight. Involving men in the fight for better conditions is important and critical.

Our second focus was to extend our coverage areas and reach more children. Talibe children do not always receive proper care, they sometimes have wounds that they hide. Such situations may put them in danger as the wounds can evolve into dangerous infections. We visited more areas to meet some of the talibe children we do not usually see. We hoped to gain their trust after discussions and then proceed with the wounds. We hope that after the discussions, the talibes children will be more conscious of the importance of their health and will decide to seek care when needed

February 24, 2019 marked an important turn in Senegal politics and history. After three weeks of campaign, the Senegalese had to go to the polls to elect their new president. For this presidential election, there were five candidates.

Despite the general enthusiasm and excitement, many Senegalese, regardless of the age and sometimes level of education do not know the power they have as citizens in such stake. Many Senegalese do not vote while they always complain about the system in place. Conscious of the issue, we have decided to teach to the kids of the centre what elections are and why they are important in a country’s cycle. 

President of the Children …

After real elections in Senegal, we decided to organize fake elections, reproducing the complete process including the campaign part. We selected 5 children to run for elections; 3 from the Darou neighborhood and 2 among the talibe children. The 5 candidates were allowed to campaign to gain the trust and vote of the other young boys. They presented their programs which were almost all about improving living conditions of children.

It was such an exciting experience for them. 

For the actual day of voting we had all the material in place and also the staff. We constituted a panel of children to organize the process and later on count the votes and give results.

One one hand, the first phase of this process was to teach to the children candidates how to prepare compelling speeches to grab the attention of the audience and above all convince the majority. The children learnt how to organize their thoughts and how to speak in public. Being the only one speaking in the room was a real challenge for some of them. But as the campaign went on, they started to feel at ease.

On the other hand, another phase consisted in teaching the voters how to select a candidate. We addressed issues such as the importance to vote for someone’s ideas and program instead of choosing them because of the relationship that may exist between the voter and the candidate. For instance, one of the children thought he should vote for his friend even though he was not convinced by his program.

The overall aim of this exercise was also to teach them the actual process of voting. In previous elections in the country, there were many cases of electors who did not understand the voting process.  Recreating the scenario of the vote was a way to teach to these future responsible citizens the dos and donts.

Another major aim was to teach them what democracy is and why it is important to respect others views even when they differ from our own views. Some kids cannot understand that different points of view do not necessarily mean that they cannot get along. At first, the children found it difficult to pay attention or show respect to candidates that they do not support. After discussions, children finally accepted to listen to others and to respect their opinion and projects.

After the election, we asked kids to share their appreciation of the initiative and to tell us what they learnt. Their appreciation was heart-melting and very encouraging.

The President elected won with a score of over 60%. Thanks to our previous advise on the necessary mutual respect between leaders (candidates) and their supporters, no children expressed anger after the results. The children from Darou were happy to be able to tell their parents that they know how to vote. 

This experience made them all feel like real citizens with a voice that matters.

Our fake elections were the highlight of the month but we did continue our activities. A Japanese volunteer came to the centre and spent nice moments with the kids. She taught them how to make origamis. That was another great moment to learn and experience other cultures for the children. They were very enthusiastic and enjoyed the sessions with her. We encouraged them to teach that to other children that did not attend the sessions.

For the rest of the month, we will try to expand our zone of coverage and reach more talibe children for the care. 

A real progress at the centre

From November to January, local volunteers at the centre were working on a great partnership between the French Institute in Saint-Louis region and the Association Chance for All Senegal.

We met the Director of the French Institute in Saint-Louis and together we agreed that was important to involve kids in Darou in some programmes. From now on, children will be able to visit the rich library where, there are many children’s books and pictures books which can help them to learn and discover new things. Kids can also attend art exhibitions, visit art gallery and participate in workshops with artists to learn creative lessons.

Moreover, during that time, they discovered that the French Institute has a multimedia library, open to the public, so they stayed and found that the cinema theatre was a magical place. Since they were wise, we allowed them to watch funny cartoons.

During that visit, they met other kids (probably from wealthy neighborhoods), but they was no difference between them and when the Director spoke to them regarding Darou’s situation, the other kids were very touched and one little girl gave her drawings as a gift. For our kids also, it was incredibly moving and meaningful.

After that visit, the Association’s members, representing Dakar and Thiés regions came to enjoy Christmas celebration with us. It was time for a meeting all together and they told us about a new initiative they have in their mind. In fact, they found the great idea to make awareness mini-videos, highlighting the current problems of the society (health, economic development, disease, poverty, environment and so on) which can affect directly child’s behavior or life.

 For this purpose, that work will allow kids from the centre to participate, so we will make children play in that mini-videos and then we will use a video projector to show to other kids and local families in neighborhoods. Our objective is to teach people via videos and at the end organize tea debates about each subject.

Our first important subjects were to talk about ‘Talibés’, ‘girls at school’ ‘child abuse’ and ‘hygiene’. Children at the centre were really motivated in playing their role in the videos. We had a great time during rehearsals. Later, when we finished the first videos, we launched a great awareness and education campaign in several neighborhoods. Our children became famous stars in Darou, even if their role was to denounce their child’s abuse in our society.

Now our next step is to subtitle videos and have a workshop at the French institute (since videos were effective education tools). Also, they advised us to collaborate with other Associations to have greatest impact on kids and their future.

This month, Vieux our supervisor (for his love of football) had a really nice initiative by organizing a Juggling competition.

Since kids are passionate soccer fans and know above all, football stars such as Lionel Messi, Sadio Mané, Ronaldo, Mbapé, Vieux and Cheikh, found that would be very funny to organize that tournament.

That was a real moment for children to express joy and solidarity between themselves.

We know that Education is much more important, but there are some talented kids who will need to be identified and express their abilities. For our part, we will have to encourage developing that talent.

Before starting the competition, Vieux met Khali Diaw the coach of Medina Marmiyale (local football club in Darou). Vieux’s idea was very welcomed by him and every Saturday and Sunday, he came to train kids to try with balls.

In Africa, football is one of the most popular sports, for example, in all the neighborhoods, young people used to gather together, close to houses, in any kind of space which can serve as a yard, in order to play soccer.  And during the World Cup, everyone is busy, watching TV or listening to the radio if they don’t have TV;

After three weeks 3 weeks of training, we chose 12 young very talented and we bought jerseys and candies in order to offer them to winners and supporters altogether.

Six groups of 2 had to start the competition. Each participant had 30 seconds to show the best of him and the winner of each little group was qualified to the next step.

Then we had three groups of two. The competition was very tight at that stage but we finally had our three finalists. One of them was automatically eliminated by the public but nevertheless he benefited of a soccer jersey (Which was really cool : )

And then we came to our two heroes Adama and Bachir.

Vieux did a very special introduction of our two winners before the results. Supporters were shouting and clapping their hands saying like: Allez! Go! LOOOOOL

Well the tournament was over, Adama won the competition and as there were remaining two beautiful jerseys, he chose another one as a gift for his little brother.

The losers were encouraged and they enjoyed their candies.

The coach Khali congratulated all the team members for that initiative and children for their efforts;

Also he found several kids with real potential to develop in the future.

It was a great moment.  

At 9 o’clock, our enthusiastic kids came in great numbers to the Center; first of all, they were playing foosball, while volunteers were arranging the classrooms. For that morning, our volunteers would like to increase awareness amongst children, regarding their own identity, their personality and choices in their life. That activity was divided into several categories. And there were lessons to be learned in each question.

After talking about the date, the weather and the program, the team started with personal questions involving their name, the age, their address and where they come from. Normally, each kid was supposed to answer in his own words and in full sentences. It’s a way to know where they are from, and also learn from other, local areas’ names, ethnical groups and so on.

It happened that, some of them didn’t really know where they come from and in those cases; we proposed to see the marabouts to have the right answers.

After introducing themselves and telling their address and origin, we asked them about their favorite sport and animal. It was a common way to keep them concentrated and they always found funny to talk about sports or animals.

After that distraction, it was time to begin a meaningful conversation with them, concerning Children’s Rights in Africa…..

We talked about certain rights and we promised to have each week a session to discuss about their rights.

Nevertheless, it was heartbreaking to explain to those underprivileged children, what was a child? What were his rights? Considering that, almost none of the basic rights has been respected in a daily life. The only explanation we had in order to reassure them was that, the private associations and other local organizations were putting pressure on the government to establish mechanisms for promoting the rights of a child.

We also asked them to stay at the centre to get educated and in the future, they could, in their turn, take positive actions to promote Human Rights in the Continent.

The volunteers thought that was important to let children express themselves, because, it will help them to dare to speak openly, to communicate, to be recognized by other and to make friends in the group. And another important thing was the fact that, some kids would find that way to fight against shyness and have the possibility to become familiar with the two foreign languages (French and English).

To finish our wonderful class, the last question was about where they would like to travel around the word? And we got surprising answers from children.

We noticed that, they could be illiterate but they are well informed regarding countries ‘names.

What was their secret?......Soccer game on TV, we were so impressed to see that, thanks to soccer games, kids learnt a lot regarding geography. They quoted lots of countries; they wanted to visit, expecting to meet Ronaldo or Lionel Messi…..LOL.

And for that last lesson, our role was to show them in a map the Country’s location. By the way, we took our time to talk about travelling and what they will need to travel. We taught them the role of a passport and we showed them how to make one through a simple drawing…..

Our talibés are so smart, we are proud of them.


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Organization Information

Lets Be Ready

Location: Longmont, CO - USA
Project Leader:
Fred Zambroski
Longmont, CO United States
$1,332 raised of $2,000 goal
24 donations
$668 to go
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