Michelle’s Friday Project Update: Emergency Shelter

In April, I shared information with you regarding the construction of an emergency shelter in Senegal GO funded. I just received an update that exemplifies the long-term impact GO’s grants have in the communities where our partners work.

Organization: Maison de la Gare (MDG)
Location: Saint Louis, Senegal

Context: Around 50,000 children in Senegal (known as the talibés) are forced to beg for up to ten hours a day. Many undergo extreme forms of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Though outlawed in 2005, the practice remains and continues to endanger children daily.

Background: Local Hero Issa Kouyate founded MDG in an effort to end the practice of forced begging and to provide opportunities for the talibé children.

Project Outcome: Since the emergency shelter’s opening, MDG has been able to expand its services in meeting the needs of children in crisis. Now, MDG has a staff that patrol the streets two nights each week looking for runaway children. When a child is found, MDG staff brings him/her to the emergency shelter. At this center, children receive care while the MDG team works with the authorities, their teachers, and their families to determine the right course of action for each child. This year, they assisted 234 runaways; half of these children were reunited with their families!

Meet Omar
Omar was found rummaging in the garbage. He had a severe limp due to untreated infection on his foot. Omar is from Mauritania. His parents were going through a divorce, and his mother sent him to live with an uncle in Saint Louis. Unfortunately, the uncle did not provide any care for Omar. Omar is now living in the emergency shelter while the MDG team seeks a proper home for him. Omar is thankful to have a safe place to live and be surrounding by people who love and care for him.