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Volunteer Care work with children in Senegal

Care in Senegal - Volunteer and Children

Senegal has a large number of street children, known locally as Talibés. These children receive no formal education and are forced to spend much of their time begging for scraps of food and small change. As a Projects Abroad volunteer you are sure to encounter them in your day-to-day life, but many of our volunteers choose to spend some of their spare time helping out at a Talibé drop-in centre.

You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Senegal Care Management Plan.

You will find there is a role for you on our Care project whether you are volunteering during a gap year - or even a gap month - from further education, a career break, your annual leave, or if you are no longer working and want others to benefit from your experience. You can come to us as an experienced Development or Care professional, or with no experience at all. All we ask is that you have energy, enthusiasm and a commitment to seeing the work through. Our local staff will support you for the duration of your placement.

Voluntary Childcare and Community Development work with Projects Abroad

Care in Senegal - Volunteer with Children

Projects Abroad Senegal is based around four hours north of the hectic capital city of Dakar, in the town of St Louis. St Louis is perhaps the most 'French' of all Senegalese towns, and you will need to have at least a basic knowledge of French before you arrive.

From 9am to 1pm, all volunteers on Care projects work in a local kindergarten with children aged from 3 to 6 years old. Many parents are very keen to send their children to these kindergartens, and it's not unusual to find classes of up to 45 children. As well as being overstretched, teachers tend to be poorly trained, and have very few ideas as to how to work productively with such large numbers of children.

Many Projects Abroad volunteers then choose to spend at least part of their afternoon working at the Talibé drop-in centre for street-children on the mainland of St Louis.

Volunteering on a Care Project in Senegal

Care in Senegal - Volunteer and Children with Toothbrush

Volunteers at the kindergartens may find themselves working alongside local staff in the main classes, or taking smaller groups of children aside to focus on specific activities. Your duties will involve teaching basic numeracy, building vocabulary in French and English, and organising arts and sports activities to improve coordination and motor skills.

You will have an important role in adding to the staff's repertoire of songs, games and activities; ensuring that your contribution lives on beyond your placement. The children themselves will be particularly appreciative if you prepare colouring-in sheets or organise arts and crafts sessions.

At the Talibé drop-in centre our volunteers regularly prepare and serve breakfast and lunch to any street-children who attend. This can often mean over 150 meals in the same sitting! You may also want to help the children with activities such as brushing their teeth and washing their clothes, and just spend time with them drawing pictures or playing.

Volunteers will occasionally take the children to the nearby beach or arrange sports tournaments. This is a welcome break from their daily routine of begging on the streets for food and money.

All of the volunteer care projects in Senegal are keen to have volunteers with fresh ideas and energy to help the permanent staff. Our local staff will work with you to help make the most of any particular skills or special interests - artistic, dramatic, sporting or other - that you have, and you are sure to return home with many more!

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