Karate Can Kick Hopelessness

by Maison de la Gare
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Karate Can Kick Hopelessness
Karate Can Kick Hopelessness
Karate Can Kick Hopelessness
Karate Can Kick Hopelessness
Karate Can Kick Hopelessness
Karate Can Kick Hopelessness
Karate Can Kick Hopelessness
Karate Can Kick Hopelessness
Karate Can Kick Hopelessness
Karate Can Kick Hopelessness
Karate Can Kick Hopelessness
Karate Can Kick Hopelessness
Karate Can Kick Hopelessness
Karate Can Kick Hopelessness
Karate Can Kick Hopelessness
Karate Can Kick Hopelessness
Karate Can Kick Hopelessness

Project Report | Aug 29, 2023
The Impossible is Possible

By Tijan and Sonia LeRoy | university student and former talibe; partner

 

In past years I have written about the inspirational stories of two former talibés I met at Maison de la Gare, Tijan and Sulayman.  Both, now young men, are originally from the Gambia, and both were sent to Senegal as young boys to study the Quran but they ended up being exploited as begging talibés.

 

Tijan and Sulayman both had a burning desire for education. Yet neither of them had access to any formal education as forced begging talibes once they were sent away from their families and native country of The Gambia. After years of exploitation both of them eventually made their way to Maison de la Gare, where they both found some refuge in a caring community and took advantage of the classes Maison de la Gare offered. Sulayman also participated in karate classes, earning his yellow belt, and gaining confidence and self discipline.

 

Tijan was the first to leave the streets of Saint Louis to return home to the Gambia to attend high school. He had been so desperate for an education and his situation felt so hopeless, he had been preparing to try to cross the desert and attempt to migrate to Europe on his own, as he had heard that minors who arrived there would be enrolled in school. Maison de la Gare staff and partners helped him believe it could be possible to return to the Gambia to attend school after all, despite many obstacles. And return he did, graduating from high school after four years of dedication and hard work: a very proud moment for everyone who knows Tijan. With the support of a scholarship obtained through Maison de la Gare partners, Tijan enrolled in a management certificate program at the University of the Gambia, and set out to find a comprehensive scholarship to study at university abroad.

 

On a return visit to Maison de la Gare, Tijan, in turn inspired Sulayman to also return to The Gambia and attempt to navigate a high school education in his home country. Against all odds, Sulayman also has graduated from high school, and is currently pursuing post secondary education in The Gambia.  Sulayman’s story was published in two earlier reports, Sulayman’s Story, and, A talibés journey in search of education.

 

Wonderfully, Tijan has recently returned to The Gambia from India, where he graduated from the Maharaja University of Baroda with a three year degree in commerce. Tijan reflects on his educational journey and challenges, in his own  words:

 

“As I reflect on my time at university in India, my education in The Gambia, and my time at Maison de la Gare while a talibé in Senegal, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the immense support and opportunities that have come my way. 

 

My university journey in India over the past three years has been an incredible and transformative experience. India's vibrant and diverse culture has been an integral part of my education. Interacting with people from different backgrounds, religions, and traditions has fostered in me a sense of global citizenship and appreciation for cultural diversity. Immersing myself in India's rich heritage and history has instilled in me a profound respect for different cultures and ways of life.

 

The zeal to pursue higher education burns brighter than ever within me, and I am determined to make the most of the knowledge and experiences I have gained during my time in India and continue my education.

 

Indeed, my educational journey in India after three years has been a transformative and empowering experience. I am deeply grateful for the opportunities I have received, and I am determined to use my education to make a positive impact on society and the world at large.” 

 

Clearly, Tijan feels the opportunities he has received are more significant than the challenges he has faced at every step of the way. And his gratitude and positivity is astonishing when one considers the terrible exploitation, discrimination and barriers at every turn he has faced for much of his journey. But Tijan’s motto has always been: The Impossible is Possible. Tijan is living proof of his own motto. 

 

He is currently submitting applications to masters programs and scholarships in the United States in pursuit of his dream of helping to make his community, country and the world a better place. Possible, indeed.

Tijan at MDG in 2016
Tijan at MDG in 2016
Sulayman and Tijan at MDG discussing the future
Sulayman and Tijan at MDG discussing the future
a young talibe being inspired to education at MDG
a young talibe being inspired to education at MDG
Tijan's university graduation
Tijan's university graduation

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Organization Information

Maison de la Gare

Location: Saint Louis - Senegal
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Maison de la Gare
Saint Louis , Saint Louis Senegal
$3,700 raised of $6,000 goal
 
62 donations
$2,300 to go
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