Wrapping up 2020 with Cautious Optimism

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Wrapping up 2020 with Cautious Optimism

By MAP Senegal
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The Need

We’re wrapping up our biggest year in Senegal yet, and we could not be more excited to share this year’s work with you, who have made all our programs possible.

In January, we opened MAP’s 5th school in Senegal, the Demain Ensemble preschool which caters specifically to children with disabilities. The opening ceremony was an exciting fanfare and we were thrilled to welcome numerous dignitaries from the Senegalese government as well as a number of MAP’s Board of Directors and Advisory Board to participate in the festivities.

 (L) MAP President Delfarib Fanaie cuts the ribbon on the Demain Ensemble school along with Elena Malagodi, founder of our partner organization Natangue Senegal. (R) The Demain Ensemble school supports 200 children, one third of whom have a learning or physical disability. The school’s mission is to provide an inclusive environment for all regardless of ability.

In March, as with much of the rest of the world, MAP’s schools closed down due to the COVID pandemic. Senegal’s national lockdown have meant that cases across the country stayed relatively low, but decimated the economy which was built on tourism and trade. 

With schools closed for the foreseeable future, we took advantage of this opportunity to begin construction on our 6th school, the Diamaguene school.  This school is located in an inland area to the east of the city of Mbour where classrooms were built with sticks, straw and tarp. This six-classroom building provides a real learning environment for over 500 elementary school children and includes an office for the school staff to meet with parents and students. The school was completed over the summer and reopened in the fall for some students, and we look forward to celebrating its completion with the usual fanfare next year.

MAP’s new Diamaguene School (right) replaced several temporary structures which were not suited to serve as classrooms (left)

With the pandemic shutdowns still affecting the whole country, we mobilized to deliver basic needs packages to over 2,000 children and their families in need. The deliveries of rice, cooking oil and soap helped our families get the nutrition they needed as well as keep good hygiene during the pandemic.

MAP’s team helped distribute food packages to families at all our schools. At right, Khady Toure, principal of the Coumba Dinding Sonko preschool, with one of the families benefitting from our program.

Starting in May and continuing through the end of this year, we’ve also started our first-ever Orphan Care program in Senegal. We provided food, drinking water, milk, and hygiene supplies to our partner orphanage in the rural village of Mbodiene, and helped restore the orphanage after the fall monsoon season.

Mealtime at our partner orphanage in Mbodiene, which cares for 24 young children from newborns to age 3.

Throughout this year, while schools were open, we also provided meal programs for our preschool students, with over 800 children receiving a daily protein-heavy meal. 

Senegal is one of the few countries around the world that has made significant headway in containing the pandemic, which has allowed schools to reopen this fall with safety measures in place. Heading into the new year, our team and our community share a sense of cautious optimism.

As we prepare for 2021, we’re preparing to launch a number of new programs. In focus for us this year in particular is our Health program. This year has reinforced the importance of having accessible healthcare to as many people as possible, and we know that a healthy mind nurtured by MAP’s schools in Senegal depends on healthy bodies.  

We’re incredibly thankful for the support of the entire MAP family as we expand our offerings in Senegal to offer as many children as possible the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and lead in their communities.

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