Anyone can become disabled. Let's work together to improve the chances and possibilities for disabled people.
Our goal is to create a centre for disabled people. In this centre there will be a restaurant, a barbershop a craft atelier and a tailor atelier where disabled people will work. We have already built the centre so we are now going to focus on raising money to buy material and equipment for the ateliers.
Diofior is a village of 18,000 inhabitants, just over a 4 hour drive from the south of Dakar. The village has an association with 150 disabled members. In this institution many people have difficulty walking, are paralyzed, blind, deaf or even have epilepsy.
Disabled people in Diofior often live in isolation, they have never gone to school, they have no work and they hardly leave their houses. They feel ashamed to show themselves on the streets, because there is little respect for the disabled among their fellow villagers. As a result they are often bullied.
The aim of this project is to set up a centre where disabled people can learn and carry out a profession so they can earn money and become less isolated.
Our main activities are:
1) Buying material (for example sewing machines for the craft atelier); and
2) The official opening of the centre and the beginning of the first courses.
There are two potential risks:
1) There is a chance that not enough income will be generated by selling the products and services. If there is not enough income it will be difficult to pay for the costs of the centre and the salaries.
However, we have done research and the results show there is a big demand for the products and services that the centre will offer.
2) The second risk is that the disabled people are not well informed about this project or are not motivated to participate. In order to avoid this we have organized several large information campaigns to involve the village, with a special focus on the disable people.
Thanks to all players, the project budget was reached yesterday! This means that materials and equipment for the ateliers of the centre can now be bought. Also, next month some companies will investigate the wishes of the disabled people, so that an action plan can be made to further improve the functioning of the centre.
Thank you all for your support!
In November I (Esther) will go back to Senegal. In the mean time the rain season is over and the disabled people are working hard in the center. They have organised many meetings in the different quarters of the village to inform disabled people about the activities in the center.
Starting from 20 November two people from companies will come to investigate the wishes of the disabled people and the possibilities for the center. Then they will make an action plan to improve the functioning of the center.
The center for disabled people has got a new project leader, Ibrahima Dione and they are working very hard. At the beginning of September they have renewed the board of the association. This wind of change has brought them new inspiration for the project. Moreover in each quarter of the village meetings will be organised to attract new disabled people to the center for work and education "Mbokatoor".
The picture shows the meeting where the board of the association has been renewed.
I just came back from 4,5 months Senegal. The project is going well, there are many ateliers and the board of the association of disabled people has just been renewed. Also, I brought some products made by the disabled people to Holland and last Saturday we sold the products at the Kleurrijk Wijk festival. We also made pictures of children with a big toy tiger. It costed one euro and this money is also for the center of disabled people.
We are entering a new phase of the project, in the second year of the existence of the center for disabled people. Soon the funding from the Dutch embassy and Wilde Ganzen will be finished and then the center has to be self-sufficient.
It especially works well to sell marmelade from the center to tourists. They really like to taste locally made marmelade.
A new stagiaire, Yvette, has arrived in Senegal. She will stay for 3 months to help to increase the income of the center for disabled people. She will make a plan for how we can sell more products to tourists and how the production of the center can be increased. She arrived last week. The picture above is taken in a restaurant at Ile de Goree.
It is going well with the center for disabled people. The new teacher, Ibrahima Dione, has taught the disabled people to make marmelade and juices and to paint fabrics. (On the photo he is teaching how to make Senegalese soap.)
Next week I will go back to Senegal myself, this time for almost 5 months :)
12 December 2009 was the official opening of the Center for disabled people Mbokatoor (together). It was a great succes, many visitors came, even some journalists from national television.
Furthermore we found an extra teacher. Ibrahima Dione is going to teach the disabled people how to make Senegalese soap, fruit juices and marmelade / compote. It's good to increase the amount of products which is made in the center, to increase the income of the center.
The project is doing very well. This summer a group of Xplore youngsters came to help, and a stagiaire, Marie-Lise, coordinated the writing a of business plan for the center of disabled people. The name of the center is Mbokatoor, whichs means together in Serer. I spend 3 months in Senegal this summer, so there was enough time to make a real progress with this project. The disabled people have created their own board for the center and they have meetings every week. They also opened a bank account and with the selling of the products they have more than 300 euros on the account now. The disabled people are really motivated, the center is changing their lives.
If you live in Holland and you are no older than 30, you can take part in the Xplore project. You can also take part in the philosophy course in Senegal. For this programme there's no age limit. See www.multi-pass.nl