Maison de la Gare, Senegal
Local hero Issa Kouyate is the Director of Maison de la Gare, an organization committed to improving the lives of the begging talibe children.
As a child in a large Senegalese family, Issa learned the values of sharing, openness, tolerance, and social justice. He attended the University of Dakar but had to stop his studies after his sophomore year. After this, he had a variety of jobs which included playing professional football, working in small businesses, to being a chef. He eventually moved to Saint-Louis to work for an international volunteer organization. It was during this time that he became intensely aware of the thousands of talibe children begging on the streets for hours every day for food and money. These children were required to give their earnings to their religious teachers. Moved by the suffering of these children, he started giving them food and assistance when he could. Soon, he was spending most of this time and money helping these boys. At this point, he decided to leave his job and focus all this time to helping improve the quality of life for these children.