Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal

by Maison de la Gare
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Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal
Tidiane (Podor)
Tidiane (Podor)

Lest we forget – Kiran Kreer’s amazing photographs and interviews remind us all that we can never let up on our efforts to give these children a chance at life

 Tidiane from Podor

“How long have you lived in the daara? I can't remember, maybe four years.”

Tidiane, now 12 years old, is from a desert region in the north of Senegal. He hasn't seen his family for many years and lives in a daara with many others and sleeps on a concrete floor. He is a talibé.

“How much do you get when you go out to beg? About 300 francs a day.” (about US$0.50 or 0.50 euros)  “What do you do with the money? I give it to my marabout, for shelter and food. You are asked to beg every day? Yes. You are here to learn the Quran? Yes, I am still in the early stages, the Surah.”

“How much longer do you have? Many more years. I don't know. Before I can go home. Will you see your family? No, I only call them at times. Do you miss them? Yes, I miss my father.”

That is water on Tidiane in the photo, not tears. He had been playing football with the other boys, in sand, and had washed himself. I loved the way he looked, as a reflection of the duality of his life.

Boubacar from Dagana

“How did you get that injury on your back? I was doing some work to build my daara, and a boy hit me with a brick.”

Boubacar is 12 years old now and has been living in a daara for seven years. He is still learning the Quran. He is also a talibé from the north of Senegal.

“Why aren't you in school? I don't know. Do you go begging every day? “Yes, for rice or money. I must bring back at least 300 francs every day for my marabout. And now you are doing construction work? Yes, we are renovating the daara. I work with bricks and masonry. How long have you done that? I don't know. We always build sometime or work. It's not finished yet. How many boys in your daara now? About 50 boys. You don't want to go back home, to see your parents? No. I don't know.”

The more I spoke to him, the more I kept feeling how conditioned he is, like a slave for all these years, uncertain of his future or what real life is as a young boy.

Oumar from Kaolack

“If you have a choice to go back home or stay at your daara, what would you do? I would like to go home. Why? Because I get hit with a cane.”

Oumar, who doesn't know his own age, comes from the area of Kaolack in the south of Senegal, close to Gambia. He has been in the daara for three years now, brought here by a marabout to study the Quran.

“Why do you get caned? If I don't bring back enough money or rice. You must go begging every day? Yes. Sometimes I work at the fish market.”

“How did you get here? A marabout came to my village, spoke to my parents and brought me here with some other boys. When is the last time you saw your parents. I don't know. I can't remember. When will you see your parents again? I don't know; I hope the next Eid festival. Do you like it at your daara? No. Because the marabout canes me.”

Moussa from Matam

I asked him how old he is. He looked down and said, "I don't know."

Moussa is another talibé from the north along the border of Senegal with Mauritania. He loves playing football and his favourite player is Messi. Moussa has been living in his daara in Saint Louis for a few years, studying the Quran.

“How long have you been here? I don't know how long. A few years. Do you go begging every day? Yes, every day. How much do you usually collect? Sometimes 200 francs.  What do you do with the money? I give it to my marabout.”

Ibrahima from Gambia

"My marabout hits me with a wooden stick if I don't bring back enough money for the day."

Ibrahima doesn’t know his age. He is from a rural village in Gambia. Ibrahima has two older sisters back home and was brought here by a marabout with his other brother to study the Quran in a daara. He too is a talibé.

"I sometimes work at the fish market. Helping the women there carrying heavy baskets. They give me a little money for that. Do you have to go begging every day? Yes. For rice and money. I need to bring back 200 francs for my marabout. What if you don't get the 200 francs for the day? Then he hits me. I have to clean the daara too.”

“When did you come here? I'm not sure anymore, when I was little. How old are you now? I don't know. Would you like to go back home to Gambia? Yes, but my marabout doesn't allow it."

He then stops speaking about it, putting his head down and wanting to go. I could see the fear and conditioning in his gestures.

Lamine from Rosso

Lamine puts out his hand showing me how tall he was when he first started begging on the streets. I noticed him at Maison de la Gare’s center, playing in the sand with the other boys, constantly rubbing his eyes and scratching himself.

"Do you have an eye infection? I don't know. Does it hurt? Yes. How did you get it. I'm not sure."

"So what time do you usually wake up? Around six in the morning. Then what do you do for the day? We study the Quran, then we go out to the local bus station to beg for food and money. I come back around 3 pm; we must come back to the daara. To study the Quran? Yes. When do you shower, or brush your teeth, or how about going to the bathroom? We just go to the river here; we go out around 6 pm. We must go out to look for food and money."

"Where do you go at night? Around here; we go begging house to house. And that’s why you carry the plastic bucket? Yes, we usually get some rice, or sometimes fish. And how much money do you usually get? Sometimes 100 francs, sometime close to 200 francs. What happens when you don't get enough? My marabout will hit me."

"What time do you go to bed? Around 10 pm, after night lessons. So you have been doing this every day all these years? Yeah. How did you get your leg injury? I was running and I fell while crossing the street. Where are your shoes? I don't have any."

 _________________

We are grateful to Kiran Kreer for this report of his photo encounters with talibé children in Saint Louis. Kiran has embarked on a “Voyage of Light” in Africa. Voyage of Light is a grassroots movement that supports rural communities living with no access of electricity and basic human needs, with self sustainable solutions, empowering youth and educating children. We invite you to follow his journey at this link.

Kiran has collaborated with Maison de la Gare on this photo series to help create awareness and to highlight the exploitation, trafficking and abuse of the talibé children. He explains that a talibé - meaning disciple or student - is a boy, usually from rural Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali or Mauritania, who studies the Quran and Islamic values at a daara. This education is guided by a teacher known as a marabout. In most cases talibés leave their parents to stay in the daara. Part of the teachings is to beg for food and money. Today this has evolved into exploitation and abuse of these boys. Many talibés live in less than humane conditions, sleeping on concrete floors, begging daily and separated from their families.

Both the names of the talibé children and of the regions they come from in Senegal have been changed in this report.

Boubacar (Dagana)
Boubacar (Dagana)
Oumar (Kaolack)
Oumar (Kaolack)
Moussa (Matam)
Moussa (Matam)
Ibrahima (Gambia)
Ibrahima (Gambia)
Lamine (Rosso)
Lamine (Rosso)

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Buaro guides talibe students in class at the dojo
Buaro guides talibe students in class at the dojo

Buaró aspires to build his life on his love of karate

It is Thursday morning and he is one of the first to arrive at the center. This early in the day, most of the talibé boys are still out on the streets begging for their daily quotas of money or for a bite to eat for breakfast. But soon, they will begin to trickle into Maison de la Gare. So Buaró works fast, sweeping the sand of debris and pebbles that could hurt bare feet or trip up a martial artist focused on his kata.

As the sun rises higher in the West African sky, children begin to tumble through the gates in ones, twos and threes. They greet Noël who tracks their attendance at the centre and helps Buaró to administer the karate program, and some of the boys entrust him with the money they have collected so far this day for their marabouts. Meanwhile, Buaró sorts through the karate uniforms, the gi, to determine if they need laundering or if they will last for another lesson. Talibés stop to greet Buaró before skipping out onto the newly cleared sand to wrestle and play. Some stay to watch him, waiting for the signal that it is time to put on one of the white karate gi's and line up for class.

Buaró was sent to Senegal at the age of seven from his home in Guinea Bissau to be a talibé, when his mother died. His eight brothers and six sisters remained at home with his father. Buaró did not see his family or home again until three years ago. Now he is 22 years old and he misses his family very much. Although he cannot read it, he keeps his birth certificate with him, evidence of his full proper name and proof of a family far away. He prefers to be known simply by his family name, “Buaró”.

Buaró still lives in his daara. He says he will remain there as long as he must, until he is ready to move on. Despite having forgotten most of the Portuguese of his childhood and hardly knowing his family anymore, Buaró longs to return home someday, this time for good. He devotes his life to karate as much as he can. He discovered karate in Saint Louis even before it was offered to the talibés at Maison de la Gare. He worked extra hard for years, raising enough money to not only pay the required “versement” to his marabout, but to cover his monthly dojo membership fees so he could practice karate at night.

Not long after karate began at Maison de la Gare, Buaró met the young Canadian who had founded the program there, Robbie, and they became close friends. He became a recipient of the Maison de la Gare program sponsoring monthly dojo fees for more advanced talibés, and devoted himself even more to karate. Buaró's sensei soon sent him, as an advanced belt, to Maison de la Gare to assist with the morning classes there. As a talibé himself, Buaró could relate well to the boys, and they trusted him. Under Buaró's leadership, Maison de la Gare’s karate program has continued to grow, regularly attracting new talibé students excited to unlock the mysteries of martial arts.

Recently Buaró earned his black belt, an extraordinary achievement that was celebrated by everyone at Maison de la Gare, as well as by his sensei and dojo and all the international supporters of Maison de la Gare’s karate program.

Buaró experiences a challenging language barrier with many people, as he does not speak French. However, when teaching and practicing karate, the universal language of karate breaks down the communication barriers. He hopes to have time to begin learning French soon in the classes at Maison de la Gare.

Buaró is grateful to Maison de la Gare for giving him the opportunity to devote more of his time to karate training, and for sponsoring his participation in local, regional and even national karate tournaments. This moves him ever closer to his objective.

For Buaró, karate is life. He has a dream, to progress and learn enough from his sensei and his experience with martial arts to prepare him to return home to Guinea Bissau to start his own dojo. Buaró knows this road will be long. There is much to learn before he will be ready. But it is a dream worth working towards, to be able to make karate, the love of his life, part of his life forever.

Arouna & Sonia interview Buaro for this report
Arouna & Sonia interview Buaro for this report
Buaro with morning class of young karate students
Buaro with morning class of young karate students
Robbie & Buaro - best of friends & now black belts
Robbie & Buaro - best of friends & now black belts
Buaro proudly presents tournament winners at MDG
Buaro proudly presents tournament winners at MDG
Buaro & Sonia with students at a MDG morning class
Buaro & Sonia with students at a MDG morning class

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All hands on deck - Issa leads screening of sand
All hands on deck - Issa leads screening of sand

Issa describes a renovation campaign that transformed the Saint Louis welcome center

“A Canadian family arrived at Maison de la Gare’s center a few months ago.  We have been working with a LeRoy family foundation for over ten years, the Rev. C.F. Johnston Foundation which has become a very important partner.  As proof, this Foundation has been supporting us since our very beginnings and it is still involved in all our activities.

This year, it was almost the entire family that arrived to work with Maison de la Gare and the talibé children, including members from the grandfather to the grandchildren.  This is the family of Rod LeRoy, our main partner, who was at our side facing the challenge of setting up the Association and has been with us ever since.  Rod spent his time getting our expenses in order and preparing the meetings that must be held every six months to support our organization and assure our financial stability.

Sonia, Rod’s oldest daughter, devoted her attention to several areas.  One was the karate program, which she organizes and inspires.  Another was the sewing apprenticeship program which has become an important revenue-generating activity for older talibés who are completing their training.  Sonia organized a karate tournament at the center, where Maison de la Gare welcomed some of Senegal’s major senseis.  This tournament was a showcase for young talibés demonstrating their skills and their commitment to become future champions.  Ah Sonia!!!

And Mike was there!!!  The work was divided up so that as much as possible could be accomplished in a short time.  A complete renewal of Maison de la Gare’s center was soon underway, and two key people drove it.  Mike, the eldest son of the family, demonstrated during this first visit to Senegal that he too is dedicated to the fight to eradicate child begging.  A jack of all trades, his holiday was transformed into a non-stop work bee.

Mike and Robin made a very visible contribution with their painting skills.  Robin is Sonia's husband, so Rod's son-in-law.  It was his second time in Saint Louis and he was also totally committed, working non-stop at the center all day for 15 days.

The painting, the cleaning of the center, the screening of the sand, everything was happening at once.  And, behind the scenes, the repair of electrical fixtures and toilets and the replacement of lights, windows and torn screens.  The center was being totally refurbished, with different family members working in every part of the activity.  And they motivated everyone else to help.  Abdou, Lala, Elhage, Abou, Mohamed and I as well as talibés of all ages painted, sifted the sand, moved books, cleaned and performed many other tasks.  It is a clear statement to the world that nothing is impossible if we all work together.

Grandson Robbie embarked on two fronts, painting the library and computer rooms and the emergency shelter, and at the same time training young karate students.  He is the founder and ambassador of this activity at Maison de la Gare, a sport that he has been practicing from a very young age.  He is a national champion in his country.

Granddaughters Alicia and Rowan launched a major renovation and reordering of the library and contributed to repainting the emergency shelter and the center’s walls.  Hard-working young people who have responded again and again to the call of volunteering.  That's the LeRoy mentality.

Our main partner did not hold back in his efforts.  Rod developed a new collaboration agreement between the family foundation and Maison de la Gare, to allow our two organizations to continue to work effectively together to help vulnerable children.  He proposed new projects and helped us with all the challenges facing Maison de la Gare.

We have found this exceptional family very determined and committed, believing in our work and supporting us in all the challenges and commitments of our mission.  In two weeks, they led us in beautifying our welcome center from the ground up.

It was a marvel to see the center after the LeRoy cyclone had passed!!!

A thousand thanks…”

Issa, Elhage, Mike and Robin, ready to go
Issa, Elhage, Mike and Robin, ready to go
Robbie and Alicia renew the stairwells
Robbie and Alicia renew the stairwells
Robin carefully mixing paint
Robin carefully mixing paint
Rowan & talibe helper preserve drawing of a bird
Rowan & talibe helper preserve drawing of a bird
Mike and Elhage replace torn screens
Mike and Elhage replace torn screens
Abdou painting wall, preserving a beautiful mural
Abdou painting wall, preserving a beautiful mural
Sonia & Robbie lead karate class in renewed center
Sonia & Robbie lead karate class in renewed center

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The tailoring center is a magnet for young talibes
The tailoring center is a magnet for young talibes

Maison de la Gare’s tailoring apprenticeship program takes off

A beautiful new building began to take shape within Maison de la Gare’s welcome center early in 2018, adjacent to the garden and the infirmary.  The hundreds of talibé children who frequent the center every day were very curious about what this would be.  But several of the older talibés knew, and they were waiting eagerly to begin a new and hopeful chapter in their lives.

The talibé youth who stay in their daaras for 5, 10 or even 15 years all face the challenge of what to do when they have completed their Koranic education or are otherwise too old to continue in their daaras.  They have no formal education and no marketable skills, and most do not want to return to their communities of origin where they remember almost no one and have no way of sustaining themselves.  These youth are desperate to find possibilities for a better life.

Many of these older talibés have been with Maison de la Gare for years, and we have become increasingly determined to support them in developing trades which can offer them self-sufficiency and respect in society.  The agricultural apprenticeship program in Bango was our first step in doing this, and this was followed in early 2018 with a poultry farming project.  The tailoring apprenticeship project complements these earlier efforts, attracting and motivating more youth.

The new center was completed in the late spring of 2018 and is now fully operational with 12 electric sewing machines.  An experienced Saint Louis tailor, Baka Fall of Baka Fashion, has made a commitment to guide the program as an instructor and a mentor for the apprentices.  And Kalidou, a talibé who has been developing his skills as a tailoring apprentice for many years, is thriving in his new role as the lead talibé for this program.  He is always present, and his quiet and supportive teaching approach is well accepted by the talibé apprentices.  With Baka’s support, Kalidou is now capable of producing excellent quality traditional clothing of almost any design required by the Senegalese market.  Kalidou is very proud of his role in this project.  Although he is ready to support himself independently, we hope that he will stay with the project for some time.

Two other apprentices are sterling examples of the opportunities offered by this new program.  Both have been the subject of earlier reports, as they have searched to find a direction for their lives.

Souleymane fully understands the need to have a professional skill, as he was launched from his daara without any ability to earn a decent living.  Souleymane was sent to a daara in Saint Louis from his home in the Gambia at a young age.  He began frequenting Maison de la Gare’s center in 2010 where he faithfully attended literacy classes and became a leader of the karate program.  In 2017, Souleymane’s family convinced him to return home for an arranged marriage.  Once there, however, he realized that it wasn’t possible to have the life that he had envisaged for himself and his family.  He returned to Saint Louis determined to learn a trade.  Souleymane expressed his motivation to join the tailoring program saying simply: “I want to have a meaningful activity and a trade.”  He faces the challenge of supporting himself and his family while continuing in the program.  We have provided living accommodations for him, but he must still eat and send a small contribution home to his wife in Gambia.  However, Souleymane has persisted, and he will soon have the skills that he needs to generate a living income.

Elhage has also persisted, with a personal drive and motivation that are truly exceptional.  He was very articulate when he signed up for this program: “Not having a trade at my age is like walking blind.  There was no work for me here and I want to train to have a better life, to have real work and a skill so that I can run my own business.”  Elhage spends two days a week in the market, working at odd jobs to earn enough money to feed himself for the week.  He works the remaining days of the week in the tailoring apprenticeship program and he sleeps in Maison de la Gare’s emergency shelter building at night.  With his tailoring skills, Elhage will soon be ready to use his boundless energy to build his own life; he is a model and an inspiration to the other talibés of all ages.

 

Apprentices have been at work in the sewing center pretty well every weekday over the past year, and often on weekends.  They have learned to make traditional clothing items such as pants, skirts and shirts as well as items like colorful shopping bags.  These are beautifully finished, fully on par with equivalent items purchased in the local markets or elsewhere in Saint Louis.

Many of Maison de la Gare’s volunteers have purchased clothing and other items to take home with them as gifts or for themselves.  The apprentices have produced robust and colorful bags of different sizes, and other volunteers have taken samples of these home with them for sale in Canada, the U.S. and some countries in Europe.  A flower shop in Ottawa, Canada – Alta Vista Flowers - is offering smaller bags with some of their floral arrangements and they reported sales over $200 during a recent month.    Such sales are very motivating for the apprentices and, if we can build successfully on these beginnings, can make an important contribution to the sustainability of this valuable program.

The tailoring program has allowed us to respect a promise that we made to the older talibé children who have grown up with us, a promise to offer them a way of finding true stability and self-respect in their lives.  The tailoring apprenticeship building has become a magnet for the talibé children participating in our other programs and is a visible statement and reminder to them that there are possibilities for them to become competent and self-sufficient, to take charge of their own lives. 

We asked Kalidou what the project means to him.  His response: “I feel too emotional to speak.  I don’t have words to express how much this project means to me.  It is a dream come true.”

The new tailoring apprenticeship building
The new tailoring apprenticeship building
Instructor Baka modelling a talibe-made outfit
Instructor Baka modelling a talibe-made outfit
Kalidou
Kalidou
Souleymane
Souleymane
Elhage
Elhage
Michael accepts bags for sale by AltaVista Flowers
Michael accepts bags for sale by AltaVista Flowers
Mamadou & Kalidou deliver dress to happy customer
Mamadou & Kalidou deliver dress to happy customer

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Lala with winning team at a Thursday tournament
Lala with winning team at a Thursday tournament

“I feed myself off of my love for the talibés and their love for me”

Lala sits under the shade of the bougainvillea, talking to a little talibé. Lala is listening to him, giving him her full attention. She speaks a few encouraging words. He nods, she pats him on the shoulder, and he runs off.

Maison de la Gare is lucky to have Lala Sène as a dedicated, long term volunteer. Lala played soccer with Senegal's Women's National Team in 2006, 2009 and 2012. Soccer was her life until 2017 when she received a career ending injury of a double fracture to her right foot. Wanting to use her skills to help the forced begging talibé street children of her city, Saint Louis, she began to volunteer at Maison de la Gare, coaching the soccer-crazy talibés and organizing a weekly tournament at the center.

As Lala's injury healed and the talibé boys of Maison de la Gare captured her heart, she increased the frequency of her volunteering until she could be found at the center every day, helping to prepare the daily food or lending a hand wherever it is needed. The Thursday soccer tournaments continue, but frequent informal pick-up games now also offer regular opportunities for the boys to receive coaching tips and the extra special attention that is so lacking in their lives.

Lala was born in Saint Louis, into a family of sixteen children. She began to play soccer with the boys in her neighborhood at age six. Her father knew of her love of the beautiful game and could see that she was always the best player on her teams. He encouraged her to feed her passion and pursue her dream of playing professional soccer. When her father was on his death bed, he asked Lala's coach to watch over her and continue to encourage her, a wish that her coach has continued to honor.

Lala's parents are both gone now. She lives in her family home with five of her sisters and three of her brothers. They support each other and they encourage her in her devotion to the talibés, recognizing the importance of this work for her.

Lala is now completely devoted to the talibés. Her greatest worry is that if she falls sick, or even needs to take a few days away from Maison de la Gare, the children will miss her. She says: "If God is good, I will be able to remain at Maison de la Gare and help these children who trust and need me." She adds that the talibés are like her little brothers or her own children. It hurts her heart to be away from them. And it touches her deeply when the talibés call her name out to her on the streets of Saint Louis.

It is Lala's greatest wish for the future to be able to continue to commit herself to the talibé boys of Maison de la Gare.

"I feed myself off my love for the talibés and their love for me. I am one with them." - Lala Sène

... with her boys in Maison de la Gare's center
... with her boys in Maison de la Gare's center
Always ready to help, here repainting the center
Always ready to help, here repainting the center
Distributing food to talibes with volunteer Alicia
Distributing food to talibes with volunteer Alicia
Refereeing a game at Maison de la Gare
Refereeing a game at Maison de la Gare
Lala leading games for the talibes, with Abdou
Lala leading games for the talibes, with Abdou

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Organization Information

Maison de la Gare

Location: Saint Louis - Senegal
Website:
Project Leader:
Rod LeRoy
Saint Louis, Saint-Louis Senegal
$130,526 raised of $139,500 goal
 
1,652 donations
$8,974 to go
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