[voir aussi l´article en français]
The following is a translation (French to English) of a document provided by the Director of the Kinkeliba home for young girls in Tambacounda, Madame Seynabou Mbaye.
The problems of rape, forced marriage, and early pregnancy are sincere in Senegal, especially in Tambacounda.
A ten year old girl who was forced to marry an older man fled her village Sinthian in Gouloumbou by night to escape that destiny. She wandered 42 miles through a landscape threatened by hyenas and snakes to arrive at a school where she could continue her studies.
The NGO (non-governmental organization) Le Kinkéliba, based in Paris was deeply sensitive to her situation. It is an organization that provides medical assistance and other forms of support, including schooling. They were able to provide her with a place to continue her education in safety. This alternative allowed her to create a life that was denied by her family and social environment, as the parents refused any further support if she did not marry. The parents say, “if you will not marry [at age 10!] nobody will support you”.
Many girls are rejected by their families at this age, if they decide not to submit to marriage. The organization was able to provide her with:
- A home
- Computer studies
- Homemaking skills; cooking, etc
- Sexual awareness, including protection against clitoral cutting, juvenile pregnancy, forced marriage etc.
In November 2007 the home was opened and able to receive girls in this situation.
- 2007-2008 24 girls arrived
- 2008-2009 64 girls
- 2009-20010 111 girls
- 20010-2011 130 girls
- 135 girls live in our institution today.
In October 2011 the financing was interrupted due to internal squabbles among the support staff in Paris. Since June, the staff in Senegal foresaw these problems but did not receive confirmation. The 10,000 Euro budget for the NGO Kinkeliba was reduced overnight to 1,850 euros, which is not even sufficient to feed the 137 girls who live there. Water, electricity, salaries, and other ongoing expenses are not covered either. The situation today is quite dramatic, as they all survive on a day to day basis, and the girls live in fear of being returned to their villages where a fatal destiny awaits them.
[Below is the original text in French]:
CONTEXTES CREATION FOYER JEUNES FILLES
Au Sénégal, les problèmes de mariages forcés et précoces, de grossesses précoces se rencontrent beaucoup, surtout dans sa zone orientale : à Tambacounda.
C’est ainsi que voulant continuer ses études face à des parents décidés à la marier, une jeune fille de dix ans a fuit pendant la nuit de son village Sinthian à Gouloumbou soit environ 42 Km bravant des dangers comme les hyènes, les serpents dans la brousse pour pouvoir venir étudier à Tambacounda.
Très sensible à ce genre de situation, l’ONG Kinkeliba qui était une association d’aide au développement médical commencé à œuvrer dans l’éducation en construisant des jardins d’enfants, et un centre d’accueil pour les jeunes filles entre la 6ème et la terminale désireuses de continuer leurs études. Car ces dernière étaient souvent rejetées par leurs parents qui leur font un chantage : « si tu ne te marrie pas personne ne se s’occupera de toi ».
La plupart sont rejetées de leur famille ; et l’ONG Le Kinkeliba les aidait par un paquet de services à savoir :
– – – – –
l’hébergement les cours de renforcement en mathématique, français, anglais l’initiation à l’informatique la restauration des causeries sur des thèmes comme le Sida, les IST 5infections sexuellement transmissibles), l’excision, les grossesses précoces et non désirées, les mariages précoces…….
C’est ainsi que le foyer a ouvert ses portes depuis novembre 2007 ; Accueillant
– – – – –
24 pensionnaires en 2007/2008
64 pensionnaires en 2008/2009
111 pensionnaires en 2009/2010
130 pensionnaires en 2010/1011
135 pensionnaires à ce jour.
Mais le début du mois d’octobre 2011, le président de l’ONG nous a informé qu’il ya cassure entre les membres de l’ONG et qu’il y a plus moyens d’aider les jeunes filles ; ce que nous entendions depuis le mois de juin passé sans en avoir la confirmation.
De ce fait le virement mensuel qui s’élevait aux environs de 6 000 000 FCFA, a été très réduit jusqu’à 1200 000 FCFA qui ne suffisent même pas pour la restauration des filles qui s’élève à environ 3 000 000 FCFA ; sans compter, l’eau, l’électricité, le personnel de service et tous les autres engagements pour le fonctionnement du foyer.
A ce jour, la situation est très dramatique car, les pensionnaires vivent au jour le jour, et risquent de se retrouver contraints de retourner dans les villages, car n’ayant pas de quoi manger.
Further background information
At the end of October 2011, Gabriella Schwarz and Arne Thies of the organisation >> bonErgie.com (providing solar energy to improve living conditions of people in poverty) visited the home of young girls in Tambacounda, which was financed by the above mentioned NGO Kinkeliba based in Paris. They were warmly received by Madame Seynabou Mbaye, who shared her disquiet regarding the threat to her institution’s viability and passed on the above document. The situation was quickly identified:
- The abrupt and sudden interruption of the payments (about 10 000 Euro/month) arrived without any alternative support
- The project of this home for young girls had been created without regard to the local economic/cultural context. All of which are wonderful but not sustainable without outside largesse. Such as:
- A large park surrounded by a stone wall, guarded day and night.
- Modern bungalows with cement paths, resembling Club Med vacation resort.
- Computer rooms, libraries, a professional western kitchen, classrooms, and comfortable dormitories,
- There is no possibility of local financing on this level. The institution is completely dependant on outside support because it has not been provided with the means to be self-sustaining (top down management).
- There are no means of income generating activities, for example, selling surplus produce from the gardens, sharing or distributing school books, materials, such as pencils, paper, chalk, etc. ore the use of alternative less costly provision of water and electricity as private wells (water for drinking and gardening) and solar-technology.
- There was just enough food to last a few days. The Home survives due to the personal relationship between the Director and the local population.
- The personnel remain but are not paid.
The visiting agencies ask:
- How can it be that such heavy support can be stopped without alternatives?
- How could such a prestigious and expensive program that costs far more than the local needs require be suddenly terminated?
- Why is such a heavy dependency on outside support, top down management created, then dropped?
The NGO Kinkeliba enjoys very strong support from different foundations which do not have any financial problems!
Two main questions remain:
- Can it be that the supporting foundations are not informed by the NGO?
- Or is it part of the ongoing “industry of suffering and tears”?
It is urgent to bring this set of problems to resolution as the girls are exposed to immediate danger:
- The immediate need is for the NGO to continue payments. They have the money!
- In future the NGO needs to re-engage and support a transitional phase to self-sustainability or allow outside organizations to manage the transition. A gradual path to self support would be most beneficial and is perfectly feasible!!!
The following foundations need to be informed and motivated:
How can you help?
Please contact the heads of the NGO and urge them to continue the support for the girls:
- firstname.lastname@example.org: Mme Maëlle Prévôtat
- Bernard.email@example.com Dr. Rouveix
Please contact as well the following relevant foundations and urge them to continue the financial support for this particular project:
If the NGO Le Kinkeliba drops the project entirely, we wish to provide the ongoing support by gradual path to self-support and need your financial assistance.
An alternative home with a gradual path to financially self-support for girls is being built in Senegal. In order to speed up the construction, your financial support will be most appreciated
For further details and information on the current situation, do not hesitate to contact Vicky Bokengo <firstname.lastname@example.org> or Arne Thies <email@example.com> (in English or French)