Welcome back! As Ramadan commences here in Senegal my work continues while I fast from food and water from sunrise to sunset. I am sure you all are familiar with the term Hangry, being angry because you are hungry. Lets just say that life will get interesting over the next month of participating in this rich cultural tradition that Muslims around the world practice! During the month of fasting farmers continue to go about their daily lives, especially because Ramadan also occurs during a farmers busiest time, the rainy season. I continue to extend better practices and seeds to farmers, maintain my hospital garden and womens group, and develop a fish farm in Temey Thiago. Yet now I am focusing my time and energy on helping organize the Gem Sa Bopp Girls Camp.
Gender Development is a secondary project that almost any PCV in any country can participate if he or she chooses. There are a variety of activities that someone can do to increase awareness and educate communities on the importance of mutual respect between males and females. Here in Senegal we have a program named SeneGAD which helps volunteers who are interested in these projects come up with ideas, organize traveling training’s, and also can allocate small funds to support volunteer projects. I know, cool huh? One project that volunteers all across Senegal and I are working on is Michelle Sylvester Scholarship. This scholarship is for girls who are in the middle school level who are part of families that are economically at risk. Those who receive the scholarship get their entrance fees to school paid for one semester and are also given a small stipend for school supplies. The girls who are selected from Richard Toll then are all invited to Gem Sa Bopp, meaning “Believe in yourself” girls camp. This camp is a week long camp where academically strong young girls come from all over northern Senegal to learn about topics such as Environmental education, Future goal planning, Women’s rights, and other topics that can help them understand that they can achieve greatness if they desire. This camp is overwhelmingly important in a society that does not stress education for girls. Most girls never finish high school level education and instead get married and start families. Although this is a cultural tradition in some aspects, it should be stressed that any girl who desires to achieve higher education should have the ability to follow her dreams and to Gem boppam, believe in herself. (See what i did there).
Volunteers and host country counterparts in the regions of Saint Louis, Linguere, and Louga have spent countless hours working on developing this camp. We have received grant money to cover some of the expenses such as food and other equipment. The space was graciously donated by University of Gaston-Berger. All in all everything is going smoothly! If you feel that this is a project that you would like to donate to feel free to click on the link below. Any donation is helpful and will help educate and empower young women here in Senegal. If you have any other questions about this venture feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep it real