Christmas gift from Dutch children - 11 January 2019

What a happy surprise day today! I was invited to come to the primary school Petrus Canisius in Puth, a little village in Limburg, The Netherlands to receive a cheque with an unknown amount for the project in Senegal.

The children, the director Ilona Beaumont and her motivated team were waiting for me to hand over a cheque with € 1142,50!! I was so surprised and it was a real unexpected gift from this school to our school in Senegal.

The children explained me that during the Christmas period they worked very hard to make all kinds of Christmas decorations that they sold during a Christmas market. Next to that they organized a Christmas bingo for which their parents and the teachers organized lots of prizes!

With a big smile and huge THANK YOU, I received the cheque with the generous amount with which we can do a lot! In April/May I will go to Senegal and decide together with the director, Mrs. Seynabou Senghor how we are going to use this amount.

Dear children, parents and teachers of Primary School Petrus Canisius in Puth: THANK YOU SO MUCH or JEREJEF in Senegalese!

 

Graduation Ceremony! 24 March 2018

Saturday 24 march it finally happened! 44 girls and 1 boy received their diploma, 
handed over
by a number of special guests, such as the director of the Senegalese
Ministry of Vocational
Training, the mayor of Thiadiaye, the prefect, 20 Rotary Club
members from Senegal, France
and the Netherlands and many more special
invitees!
The graduates were the first students of the centre since the opening in november 2014.
In September 2017 these students completed their 3-year training as cook/waiter, hair-
dresser
or tailor and on 24 march 2018 the official graduation ceremony was held.


45 graduates
30 students received their officially recognized state diplome. For this they have passed a
national exam and one of them also had the highest score of the country! That is a very good
publicity for our school.

15 students received their school certificate, recognized in the region. These girls
have
attended practicial training, because their reading or writing skills is not
sufficient enough to f
ollow the theoratical lessons in the centre.


Future
All 45 students have an internship at the moment and a few of them even have a paid job.
For
example, the oldest student of our school, Anne-Marie (42) started her own little canteen
in
the school. The students can by for little money their breakfast for lunch and the village of
Thiadiaye can order their catering for their family parties. The school has given her a small
starting capital, which she slowly repays through sales in her canteen.


In addition, Diouma Senegal Foundation has given the best 2 students of each educational
program an incentive prize. For example , the 2 best students of the cookery training have
been given a gas stove and a knife set. The 2 hairdressers have received a complete hair-
dressing set and the tailors students got a sewing machine. With these tools they can start
their own business.

  Entrepreneurship   

On top of that, our chool has recently been chosen by the Ministry of Vocational Education to start a pilot with Mastercard Foundation. This American NGO has a partnership with Senegal to integrate 'entrepreneurship' modules at vocational training centers.

 In these 9 modules the students learn everything about entrepreneurship. How do you start   your own business, what do you need and how do I write a business plan? This is of course   great news for the students.

 Support us? 

Because of all this positive attention leads to more applications and Foundation Diouma Senegal has been asked to help with the expansion of the center and all kinds of other sub projects that have to do with this. So, we are still looking for donors!

Do you want to support these girls in creating their own future? Get in touch with   us!

New Ceremony coming up!

Yeah!! I am preparing my next trip to Senegal, because there is a new milestone that we absolutely need to celebrate! The first girls and boys graduated from our centre after an education of 3 years. They succesfully passed the Senegalese state exams to become a cook, a hairdresser or a tailor!  March 24 we organize a nice official celebration with all our partners (Rotary Club Royan France, Rotary Club Dakar Almadies, Rotary Club Elsloo-Maaskant, Dutch embassy and many more important partners). The 6 best students will be offered an encouragement gift from us! This will encourage new students and it will help them in their next steps in professional life! I am so excited to see how the centre evolved in the last 2 years and to see al my lovely Senegalese friends! Keep an eye on facebook to see what happens!!

Visit from the Dutch Ambassador! - June 2017

The Dutch Ambassador in Senegal visited our centre on June 19! A very honorable visit, since the centre is not so close to Dakar, where our ambassador is located. Last year the Dutch Embassy has sponsored a chickenfarm in our centre. The sales of the chicken generates funds to support the less fortunate girls with their inscription fees and school supplies. On the other hand, the village of Thiadiaye has a sales point where to buy healthy chickens, so a win-win project! 

Colourful Schoolyard! - December 2016

In between the courses, there is time to relax and chat for the students and the teachers. There are some new benches along the wall with the beautiful bougainville. It is getting more and more colourful. What a wonderful idea the Senegalese team had!

And this is all being made possible thanks to you, my dear sponsor!

Chicken Farm! - December 2016

We are extremely proud of our new chicken farm on our school. The Senegalese team did an excellent job, which is sponsored by the Dutch Embassy.

The goals of this project is:

1. teach the students how to breed chicken

2. generate income for the school by selling the chickens

3. offer a safe and healthy food supply to the village

Well Done Team of the CFP de Thiadiaye!

Ready for the party? - 6 March 2015

In almost 2 weeks from now, the opening ceremony of the centre will take place. In Senegal this means: big party!! Since weeks the "ceremony committee" is working very hard on the programme. Every now and then, they inform me about the progress and especially about the budget!

It took me several phonecalls and e-mails and board meetings to discuss and define the final budget. Because in Senegal budget can be very fluid and you know that under pressure, everything becomes fluid....

Anyway, our philosophy is that great work like building, equipping and setting up the program of the education centre must be rewarded and celebrated!

I already know what I can expect, because I joined quite some celebrations in Senegal. Senegalese are the best party people I have ever met. A celebration in Senegal always consists of two parts, being the official speeching and thank you part and the eating-music-dancing part.

Weeks before the celebration the women are thinking about their hairstyle and outfits for the big day. Wigs and weaves are being bought, followed by hours of braiding, which are sometimes finalized with some kind of goldpaint. One is even more creative than the other. The same goes for the clothes: you buy your fabric and you design your own dress or you let the dressmaker design one for you. And one thing is for sure: you never see someone with the same dress!

So, my call to action:

Prepare my speech: check!

Go to the hairdresser: check!

Choose my partydress: check! 

Final result: I am ready to party!

Follow me and the foundation on March 26 in Senegal! 

Diouma's dream - 21 February 2015

“What does Diouma mean? ”, people often ask me.  In the logo, you see a women, Diouma, with her grandchild on her back. Diouma is a 50 year old women from a village in the countryside of Senegal. The village is one like many others in Senegal, very peaceful, a few huts here and there fenced of with some branches. Children playing with each others,  chickens walk around and goats graze. In the middle of the village a big baobab tree. Under this tree you always find villagers sitting and talking about politics, religion, family matters etc. It is their meeting place. A few hundred meters behind the fence there is a water well with fresh water, where the women and girls every morning go and get their daily water supplies.

Diouma stands for many mothers and grand mothers, who are cheerful women, but who are also worrisome,  especially when they look at her children and grandchildren.

Two years ago Diouma’s oldest daughter moved to the big city of Dakar to earn some money. She has found a job as a housekeeper, just like many girls from her village. This is not an ideal situation for such a young girl. They should not wander in the crowded, hot and dusty streets of Dakar looking for a job. Many young girls end up in awkward situations, such as living with many girls in small rooms without decent facilities, they often get underpaid or not paid at all. It might get even worse, when they become victims of physical and psychological violence.

So, a 15 year old girl should be at school, but many parents do not have enough means for that.  Therefore many parents send their their oldest daughters to the city to earn some money for their family.  Even if they would have had the means, there is no education centre or professional school in the rural areas.

In case of Diouma, her daughter, came back to the village, after a year in Dakar, without a job, without money and pregnant. This sad story I hear many times when I speak to women in Senegal.  Some of them said “our dream would be an education centre for the village, so that our daughters can stay here to learn a profession and find a job in the surroundings. Their lifes would become much better”.

Such a beautiful dream needs to come true! With my experience, network and passion , I want to help women like Diouma  with their dream. We now share the same dream….