Hope for begging talibe children, St-Louis Senegal

by Maison de la Gare
Play Video
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
Rowan and boys the morning after, in MDG's shelter
Rowan and boys the morning after, in MDG's shelter

Sonia shares the horror, and the hope, of a recent “night round”

“Since we discovered several years ago Issa Kouyaté’s personal night time habit of searching the dark alleys, transportation yards and dangerous, dark corners of Saint Louis for runaway talibés after midnight, "night rounds" have become part of Maison de la Gare's regular activities.  Teams now head out from the Maison de la Gare center at least twice a week in search of young boys who have run away from their daaras, typically due to abuse or fear of reprisal for failing to meet a begging quota.

The boys are at terrible risk when on the run. They try to strike a delicate balance between not being found, and not being too alone and thus subject to the whims of sexual predators or others ready to take advantage of them.  Their vulnerable lives become even more outrageously exposed to the chance of meeting evil when they are living on the streets at night.  During the days, the worst the talibés need to deal with on the streets is usually injury, hunger, exhaustion and bullying.  Imagine how bad it must be to know what awaits at night, and to run anyway.

Each time we have joined Issa or another team for a night round, we begin with barely suppressed excitement co-mingled with anxiety.  And, fear.  Not our own, but a sense of what the boys we are searching for must be feeling.  Excitement that we will find them and help them.   Anxiety that we might find them - we always hope there will be none on the streets tonight.  But, sadly, there are always many.

The very first time my dad, my daughter Rowan and I went out on a night round, what we saw branded us forever.  We had been intending to go out the night before, but were waiting for a news crew that wanted to follow Issa with cameras.  So we put it off.  The second night the news crew wanted us to postpone again but we decided to go.  We found four boys, huddled together in the cold tucked into their t-shirts.  One little one was more difficult to approach, more reluctant to trust us.  Rowan eventually won a tiny smile as she gently zipped her Lululemon jacket around him.  We learned later that he had been sexually assaulted the night before while on the street.  THE NIGHT BEFORE!  This knowledge is now part of me, will always be.

Last Tuesday night Idy and Bathe, leaders of the Maison de la Gare night round team, met Rowan and me at midnight at Maison de la Gare’s center.  We took taxis out to the Gare routière (the Saint Louis bus station) at the edge of town.  This is a large area full of hundreds of busses, trucks and cars all ready to take off first thing in the morning to different parts of Senegal, The Gambia and beyond.  The runaways often hide out here with the idea that they could steal away on a ride home.  How often do kids inadvertently end up in another, unknown country?  I cannot bear to imagine.  And, sometimes, as the kids sleep under vehicles to stay out of reach of potential predators, they are run over as the wheels start to move earlier than expected, before the sun rises.

We found five boys.  After meeting three more members of the team we split into two groups, Rowan in one with Idy and me in the other with Bathe.  We prowled through the narrow alleys and shone our flashlights under cars, into parked busses, behind crevices.  My light soon shone upon a grown man, huddled under a blanket, hidden behind a half-wall.  As my light moved along, it soon shone upon a tiny bundle, opposite to the grown man.  Ibrahima!  Bathe estimated his age at ten.  How could this little waif have been older than six?  Bathe gently woke him and spoke with him in Wolof.  The boy was convinced to follow us.  But I stayed a step behind, with a hand hovering and ready to leap just in case he chose to run. 

We soon found three more boys, piled together under canvas rags.  As they were gently woken from sleep, reality began to hit me hard as it does every time I do this.  Nothing to do but just DO.  After all, what is what I feel compared to what they lived?

We met up with Rowan's group and paused to note the names and daaras of the boys, and to learn something of their stories.  The night here is cold at this time of year.  Little Ibrahima was shivering, perhaps from the cold, perhaps from fear.  Rowan removed her favorite sweater (deja-vu) and put it on Ibrahima.  As he huddled into the new-found warmth, Rowan peeled a few oranges and handed them out.  Then, we hopped into taxis to return to the emergency shelter at Maison de la Gare.  As we were leaving the Gare routière, another little talibé came up to the car.  He had been watching.  We must have looked like help and not hurt.  He hopped in.  Then he fell right asleep.

When we arrived back at the center, the boys were registered with the social worker who is always on duty.  Rowan and I helped find the bedding and set them up in the shelter’s bunk beds, likely the first beds they had ever known.

 

Rowan and I returned in the morning and settled in with the little runaways.  They seemed to trust us, and were soon out of their shells, playing chase and tickle games, reading and dancing to music.  One by one, the social worker sat with them to try to figure out where they were from, which daara, which village, country?  Had they been abused?  Did they want to go home?  Did they have a home to return to?

This time only one boy, Amadou, will be returned to his distant home.  This is planned for later next week, after his marabout can be located and has been called to account.  The others will be returned to their daaras later today.  A difficult thing.  But, the Palais de Justice has spoken, and the boys did not choose home - maybe none exists any longer for them?  But, Maison de la Gare now knows them, and they now know Maison de la Gare.  Maison de la Gare will watch their daaras.  Their marabouts know they will be watching.  This helps.

I saved writing about our night round until we were safely on our way home, flying back toward my usual reality.  Each one of us seems to know just what we can take.  These talibé boys seem to be able to take more than most of us.  But, for the love of God, why must they?”

____________

We are grateful to all of our precious supporters who make our work for these children possible.

Three boys piled together under a canvas sheet
Three boys piled together under a canvas sheet
Idy wakes them, and gently convinces them to come
Idy wakes them, and gently convinces them to come
Bathe reassures a reluctant talibe runaway
Bathe reassures a reluctant talibe runaway
Tucked into a bunk bed, under a warm quilt
Tucked into a bunk bed, under a warm quilt
Aby & Amadou encourage a child to share his story
Aby & Amadou encourage a child to share his story
Amadou, happy with his decision to return home
Amadou, happy with his decision to return home

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Chuck in conversation with talibe children
Chuck in conversation with talibe children

Chuck is an inspiration to us all

"When I began the search for a volunteer post in French speaking Africa, it was just by accident (or luck) that I ran across Maison de la Gare.  I thought I'd find a place to teach English, as I'd done in three previous postings at schools in Thailand, Laos and Mexico.  I had come to international volunteering late in life, but what I'd found had been both fascinating and adventuresome, a compelling combination for me.  So, at 80, I was not going to back off quite yet. 

The Maison de la Gare website was immediately appealing, a chance to help out with these boys who are forced to beg daily on the streets of Saint Louis.  I didn't know how exactly I could lend a hand, but thought that perhaps I could teach something - or just do whatever was asked.  I sent off a query to Issa Kouyaté, the director.

And received an immediate reply.  I took the live-with-a-family option (over the hotel) and family living turned out to be key in my plunge into the local scene with all the challenges and satisfactions that go with cultural immersion.

So, after a few days in the chaotic, colorful capital of Dakar to get my Senegalese bearings, have a look around and get tuned in to the local French accent, I arrived in Saint Louis on the doorstep of Mme Soda Beye with just enough time to meet the family - son, daughter and grandson - before sitting down on a carpet and sharing the main meal of the day from a large common bowl and eating either with fingers or a soup spoon (my choice) and, this being a Muslim country, right hand only (I only had to be reminded once or twice with a poke in the ribs).   The meal was the national dish called Thiéboudienne, cooked fish and vegetables over rice and covered with a spicy, tasty sauce.  I was to see numerous variations of this dish over the coming weeks.   Sitting side by side with family members, sharing from the same large pot and engaging in animated conversation, made me feel like one of the family right away.

The next morning, Issa picked me up and walked me the 20 minutes to Maison de la Gare's center just off a main street across from the soccer stadium.   Staff members were warmly welcoming and, although the first boys I met initially looked wide-eyed at the stranger, it wasn't long until they were all smiles and high-fives.  The Maison de la Gare compound is made up of a basic office/computer and TV/library building, a common outdoor clothes washing and bathing area, a row of toilet stalls, a kitchen, an emergency shelter, three classrooms and, separately, an infirmary, all grouped around the central play yard of sand.

After some orientation and observing I wandered into the infirmary and there found my place.  After seeing a succession of these boys aged 5 to 15 - mostly in ragged, much used clothing - be treated for wounds and cuts (to bare feet), abrasions, skin and scalp conditions and sometimes burns or scabies, I was asked to help out.

And so began my daily routine, showing up at the opening bell and taking my place beside my co-workers, Awa and Abibou.  It wasn't difficult to learn the routines of cleaning, bandaging and assisting other procedures, but it was very rewarding to offer these helpful treatments to the boys, the talibés, so poignantly in need of comfort, support and attention.  It wasn't long before I felt like one of the team. 

Often the infirmary wasn't so busy in the afternoon and the activities director Abdou, a wonderful, talented guy, got me involved in helping run the simple games, races and more that these kids so loved.  Watching them enjoy themselves, happily free and at play, was sheer joy.  After helping hand out a late afternoon snack, I went to a classroom and taught basic conversational English and French.  The lack of materials was sometimes frustrating but the kids were so enthusiastic and full of energy that it was a happy class experience nonetheless.  Yet when the gates closed, it was sad to think of these happy faces going back to the squalid, overcrowded and often abusive living conditions to which they are subjected by the so-called Koranic teachers who exploit them.

I'm a longtime city biker, so Issa found me a bike which not only took me daily to the center, home for lunch and back for the afternoon session, but also propelled me to explore all corners of the city and, on the weekends, the countryside as well.  There was much to take in, from colorful markets to teeming shopping streets and stark, gritty poverty.  Saint Louis, once the vibrant capitol of all of French West Africa, is now a tale of faded glory.  Yet exploring the remnants of French colonial times, the vital fishing port with its hundreds of brightly painted boats and the Artisan Village that was home to many friendly and talented craftsmen, these were just a few of the myriad of wonders to be discovered during my stay. 

This has been about the journey of a volunteer, yet the real story is about the boys, the talibés, sent from impoverished rural homes to Saint Louis to 'study' (read memorize) the Koran and who find themselves beggars, horribly exploited by their teachers.  The practice is in fact illegal, but so ingrained in the local culture that it stubbornly persists.  Maison de la Gare has made important inroads, provided heightened awareness, improved hygiene, nutrition and, perhaps most importantly, given hope to so many boys.  Yet there remains much to be done.

To my colleagues Abdou , Bouri, Awa, Abibou, Mamadou, Kalidou who taught English with me, Souleymane who led karate class, Aïda my French teaching friend and Issa, just to name a few of the dedicated staffers, I was in awe of your fierce dedication to the talibé cause.  It doesn't take long, observing these rag-tag boys washing themselves and their clothes, brushing teeth (many for the first time), making friends with one another and playing their games, to understand the dedication to their cause that grips the staff as well as the international support network that sustains their efforts."

High five with a young talibe
High five with a young talibe
Chuck greets Maison de la Gare nurse Awa Diallo
Chuck greets Maison de la Gare nurse Awa Diallo
Treating a child in the infirmary
Treating a child in the infirmary
Chuck and Abdou organizing afternoon games
Chuck and Abdou organizing afternoon games
A much anticipated and desperately needed snack
A much anticipated and desperately needed snack
Teaching talibes students in an evening class
Teaching talibes students in an evening class

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Talibé children discover a new world, right next door

The talibé children of Maison de la Gare recently had the opportunity to discover a corner of Gandiol, an area close to Saint Louis where they had never been despite its nearness.  This excursion was organized by Maison de la Gare’s volunteers and staff working with volunteers and staff from the association “Hahatay - Smiles from Gandiol”.

Almost a hundred children gathered at Maison de la Gare’s center that day to participate in the excursion, which was to include minibus transportation, food and a guided tour of the area.

This day will be etched in the memories of the young talibés, thanks the opportunity to discover an extraordinary place.  The mere fact of leaving behind their daily routine and the bustle of the city to spend a day of leisure in the Gandiolesque calm was a release for these children, a breath of fresh air and a source of energy for returning to face their challenging day-to-day lives.

In Gandiol they visited the House of the Little Ones, a classroom built by Hahatay volunteers and staff from plastic bottles filled with sand.  They were able to play and sing with the young students and the teachers of the school, and with the Hahatay volunteer team.  The school’s director donated a bag of soap to Maison de la Gare, a commodity that is used in large quantities at Maison de la Gare’s center both for personal hygiene and for the laundry that talibé children do every day.

Afterwards, the children went for a walk to visit the salt flats, where they learned how salt from the sea is concentrated by the sun’s energy so that it can be collected by community women.  And they visited the emblematic lighthouse that gives its name to the district of Pilote, whose history they learned thanks to the friendly lighthouse keeper who explained the critical role that this lighthouse has played guiding ships far out to sea.

There was also time on the beach for free play and rest.

Lunch was prepared by Maison de la Gare’s team with help from the teachers from the House of the Little Ones; there were sandwiches, juices and sweets for everyone, shared by children and adults … a perfect ending after so much activity.

In addition to the benefits of this day for the talibé children, it was also a day of networking and sharing for staff and volunteers from the two organizations, sharing their commitment to working for the common good of vulnerable children.

It was a different day, a special day for the almost 100 talibés.  The joyful faces, the smiles and the words of thanks make all our efforts worthwhile, and give us strength to continue fighting so that the daily lives of these children can be a little less difficult.

A ten for all the team members who participated in this event, from the organization of the event to the day itself, both the Maison de la Gare team, workers and volunteers and the Hahatay volunteers and staff including the teachers of the House of the Little Ones.

In conclusion, a day to repeat!

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Arouna (on left) and fellow marchers in the street
Arouna (on left) and fellow marchers in the street

Human Rights Watch reports on progress in stopping child begging in Senegal, and Maison de la Gare responds

On Tuesday, July 11th, Issa Kouyaté joined human rights activists from across Senegal at a press conference in Dakar at which Human Rights Watch presented their most recent report on progress in eliminating child begging in Senegal.  While this important report signals some progress, its sad conclusion is that efforts to date fall far short of what is needed.  Please click here to access the full text.

Maison de la Gare responded to this report by organizing a march through the streets of Saint Louis.  Arouna Kandé, a talibé staff member, writes: “As a talibé who has lived maltreatment in my daara, I do not want my young brothers to have to suffer the same fate as I did.  This is why I joined the march through the streets of Saint Louis, following a banner reading SOPPI NEKKINOU XALLE YE (Behavior Towards Children Must Change).

We set out on Charles de Gaulle Avenue near our center at about 9 a.m., marching for four hours with the members of our staff and of the NGOs Terres Rouges, Univers de l’enfant, Claire Enfance, Association Jeunesse Espoir (AJE) and many others.  Our route took us through areas of Saint Louis where the daaras which are ‘home’ to talibé children are concentrated.”

From the summary of the Human Rights Watch report: “Across Senegal, an estimated 50,000 boys living in traditional Quranic boarding schools, or daaras, are forced to beg for daily quotas of money, rice or sugar by their Quranic teachers, known as marabouts. Children in these daaras are often beaten, chained, bound, and subjected to other forms of physical or psychological abuse amounting to inhuman and degrading treatment.

In June 2016, the government demonstrated meaningful political will by introducing a new program to 'remove children from the streets' (known in French as the ‘retrait des enfants de la rue,’ or simply the ‘retrait’), intended to crack down on forced child begging. ...”

“In the month following the program’s launch, aid workers, rights activists, and government officials observed a dramatic drop in the presence of children begging in both Dakar and Saint-Louis.  However, the failure to investigate and prosecute abusive teachers ultimately led to a return of the status quo. ...”

“From May to June 2017, Human Rights Watch and the Platform for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (PPDH), a coalition of 40 Senegalese children’s rights organizations, observed hundreds of children living in squalid, unsanitary daaras in Dakar and Saint-Louis.  Nineteen of the 43 current and former talibé children Human Rights Watch interviewed on the streets and in children’s shelters said that they are beaten if they fail to study, try to run away, return late to the daara, or fail to bring back daily quotas.  Several marabouts interviewed in Quranic schools admitted to beating their talibés for the same reasons.

In the northern city of Saint Louis, Human Rights Watch and social workers from the children’s shelter Maison de la Gare encountered a 9-year-old talibé hunched over in pain at the bus station around 1 a.m., his T shirt pulled over his head.  Tears streaked the child’s face as he described the severe beating he had received, administered by the Quranic teacher’s assistant, after failing to meet the daily quota.  ‘I didn’t give the grand talibé my payment, so he beat me with a stick.  He also did it to four other talibés,’ he said. Open wounds and scars from previous beatings marked the child’s back. ...”

“Senegal has ratified all major international conventions on children’s rights.  Its penal code criminalizes physical abuse and willful neglect of children, and a 2005 law prohibits forced begging and human trafficking.  However, a law drafted in 2013 to establish legal status and regulations for daaras had yet to be passed at the time of writing.

Human Rights Watch, PPDH, and other Senegalese civil society activists call on the Senegalese government to strengthen the 'retrait' program, investigate and prosecute abusive Quranic teachers, and pass the draft law to establish a legal framework to regulate the Quranic schools.”

 

Arouna shares his feelings after the march.  “This day was full of emotion and joy, but of sadness too.  I was very aware that we are no longer alone, standing with NGOs, associations and institutions … some of these branches of the government.  I was sad inside myself, being reminded of the bad experiences that I had lived in my daara.  But, I was very happy to be marching with everyone struggling to improve the lives of the talibé children.”

_________________

We are grateful to Lauren Seibert and Human Rights Watch for their permission to reproduce photos and text from their report.  And we are particularly grateful to them for their unrelenting determination to publicize and end child begging in Senegal, and to all of the individuals and organizations in Senegal and around the world who are committed to this goal and who make possible our continuing efforts in support of the talibé children. 

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
A place where you can talk with everyone
A place where you can talk with everyone

Alessandra shares her experience at Maison de la Gare

A door always open, for everyone.  For the talibés, small and large, for the toubabs (white people) who are passing by, for the staff who perform their tasks perfectly every day, for the children of the neighborhood, for the people who make the night rounds, for others who just want to take a look.

An open door that reveals an entire world, a world of love, common purpose and mutual aid.  A world of heat, sweat, a whiff of the lime trees, dusty sand and the odor of disinfectant.

A world of looks full of hope and love, and soccer balls patched up with a bit of scotch tape because a soccer ball is always a soccer ball, and it is always time for a game.

A world of green and orange mats, which also serve as mattresses for some who woke up too early and are tired, and can rest here in the shade and in safety.

A place where you can talk with everyone from five-year-olds who want to cuddle to adults who want to exchange ideas, you who know very little French but, somehow, we still understand each other and we talk about everything.

A place where games are repeated endlessly without boredom and always with the enthusiasm of the first time; there are red and green jerseys, a ball, two bottles, a big circle and it is always game-on.

A place where everyone can receive medical care, where the infirmary is always open and where, in addition to curing wounds and ailments, there is always the respect, courtesy and caring of those who do this work with joy and love.  A place where the talibés can take a shower, always with a bit of soap for them, and where they can wash their clothes with their "Alessandra, madar!” (Madar is the soap they use).

A place where they can brush their teeth by lining up to the beat of the music of the djembe drums as they laugh and joke with friends.  A place where they can watch a movie sitting secluded from the forces that control most of their lives; but here, yes, here they can do it, and they can learn English without even realizing it, by simply singing.

A sheltering place at night for those who don’t return to their daara; in fact, people go out in the night and look for children and, with kindness and love, tell them that sleeping in the street is dangerous.  They offer them a bed and a safe place for the night, trying to understand their problems and their dreams. 

A place where food is not lacking for anyone, ever.

A place where there are offices with people who struggle with documents and Excel files so that things work, accounts are balanced, and everything is made possible.

A place where you feel at home, wrapped in love and caring.  Caring also sees dermatitis, infected wounds, bare feet, torn clothes; caring tells you that it is not easy, that the problem is endemic and the solutions difficult.  It is a place that enters into your heart to stay there forever, but also into your mind to seek solutions, to seek funding, to seek collaborations.  A place where children call you by the name of "Alessandra cards" and you play the umpteenth round of Memory so that the cards now are all damaged and you know that none of this matters, because it is our game.

You look around you one last time and you breathe in this spirit of mutual help, this desire to share, this common search for solutions, and you smile.  Happy with this happy experience, happy with each moment, infinitely difficult moments when you wanted to scream that it is unjust that a child should face certain things, and moments extraordinarily joyful and simply accepting.

And you thank everyone.  You turn to leave one last time (for this month at least, then who knows ... Insha'Allah) and you think that it is no longer just a place, but a part of you.”

  ___________

Our teacher Abdou Soumaré shared his response to Alessandra in a message shortly after she left: You were amazing with the kids.  Always next to them, you didn’t even have time to put your things away when you came into the center.  And, the trust that children have in you, screaming your name … Alessandra, Alessandra!  All of this is because you have a great heart; you are a beautiful person.  We are really going to miss you, but know that the kids will never forget you. Your life is beautiful!” 

These were Alessandra’s final words: “Jerejef (thank you in Wolof) for everything.  An incredible month full of emotion and smiles.  Jerejef for the games, for the words, for the smiles and for the Teranga (the warm Senegalese welcome).  I didn’t do anything; I just filled my heart with the love that the talibés know how to give every day.”

__________

“A child’s smile is the most beautiful thing.
And, to be able to make a child smile is the most beautiful gift.”

... to the beat of the music of the djembe drums
... to the beat of the music of the djembe drums
A place where everyone can receive medical care
A place where everyone can receive medical care
... where they can wash their clothes
... where they can wash their clothes
A place where food is not lacking for anyone, ever
A place where food is not lacking for anyone, ever
A place where children call you "Alessandra cards"
A place where children call you "Alessandra cards"
A place where you feel at home, wrapped in love
A place where you feel at home, wrapped in love
...it is no longer just a place, but a part of you
...it is no longer just a place, but a part of you

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Maison de la Gare

Location: Saint Louis - Senegal
Website:
Project Leader:
Rod LeRoy
Saint Louis, Saint-Louis Senegal
$155,672 raised of $164,500 goal
 
1,953 donations
$8,828 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Maison de la Gare has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.