Evelyne Kleikers and Michela Padovani are concerned about the lack of participation of girls in education in Senegal. Many girls, out of necessity, have to leave school before they have completed their education, aged just 12 or 13 years old. They have no possibilities to continue their (secondary) education. The most valid reasons being:-
•Their standard of Education is too low - many fail to pass the entrance examination or secondary school
•Lack of finance to pay school fees
•Need to contribute to the family income
Therefore, many girls are being sent by their parents to the capital Dakar, to work as a housekeeper. These young girls are often exposed to the many dangers of big cities, frequently exposed to violence and often resulting in undesirable pregnancy.
Through the Diouma Senegal Foundation, Michela and Evelyne want to help in finding solutions:
Diouma Senegal Foundation has built an education centre in Thiadiaye, 100 km south-east from Dakar. The centre has been built on a 400 m2 plot of land donated by the mayor of Thiadiaye.
This education centre gives children from 13 years onward, (especially girls) a chance to learn a profession to become dressmakers, cooks or hairdressers within 1-3 years, depending on the level of entry and the level the students wish to achieve.
In addition to subjects such as needlework and sewing, pattern cutting, cooking, serving, batik painting and hairstyling, other lessons are also included, such as mathematics, ICT and English. On top of this, the young women are also taught “life skills”, with topics such as self-awareness, empathy, relationship skills, sexual education and communication.
Every year around 40-45 girls can start the course (15 students per direction).
After finishing the education, the girls will obtain a school certificate or state diploma, depending on the entrance level of the students. This will open opportunities for employment and financial independence.