Senegal also guarantees its country's children free school attendance, and even obliges them to attend classes up to the age of 16 (source: Wikipedia). Despite this fact only 40% of the population can read and write (source: National Geographic). The country has a wealth of beauty – two of its national parks have the status of UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites, it is rich in agricultural land and fishing grounds, but there is still much development work to be done.
For as long as 25 years, a partnership has existed between the city of Schwabach and the mission station of Gossas, in the Senegalese region of Fatick. To mark this anniversary, Rose Faye, who had established a small bush school in 2006 for the children around the village of Diaby Kondel, eight kilometres from Gossas, came to visit, along with Father Marcel from the French Sacred Heart of Jesus order (report by the city of Schwabach, in German). They both spoke of many achievements, but also of many problems still to be tackled.
Some 60 children between the ages of seven and nine can currently be taught in the school. And although it is expected that they pay school fees, no child is turned away if the parents cannot afford this. In the past year, only 15 children were able to pay for their school books themselves, the textbooks and math books for the remaining children have to be financed through these donations.
At nearly all the schools in Schwabach (report in the Schwabacher Tagblatt newspaper, in German), Rose Faye told the children about life in Africa, cooked food with them, thanked them for previous donations and gratefully accepted new donations made by Johannes-Helm-School. Memmert managing director Christiane Riefler-Karpa, whose daughter also got to know the teacher from Senegal at her school, was also infected by the enthusiasm shown for this development work and spontaneously announced that she would donate 2,000 €. From autumn 2010 on, a third school year is likely to be introduced in Diaby Kondel, so that village children will then have the opportunity to attend school until they are 12. Not only exercise books, textbooks and pens are needed, but the wish list of Rose Faye also includes a small kitchen and a flower mill for the mothers in the village.