Extending the power of the Foyer to Dakar
Jun 23, 2021
When Le Korsa began operating the Foyer des Jeunes Filles in concert with its director Maimouna Ka Sow back in 2017, the goal was simple: to bring the Foyer’s enrollment to full capacity and to ensure that as many girls as possible received their Bac and went on to college.
Nearly five years later, the results have been stellar. There are now 140 girls in attendance at the Foyer, up from 95; new programs such as the sewing business Sutura, and biweekly art classes, have been launched; and more girls than ever are passing their Bac. In fact, for the past few years, girls at the Foyer have passed the Bac at a higher rate than Senegal’s national average.
What became, clear, though, was that not all girls who went on to university Dakar were thriving. Student housing in Dakar is notoriously hard to come by. Some girls were spending all their time commuting to classes, leaving them so exhausted that their studies were suffering. And most of all, the girls missed the incredibly rich and supportive environment that they had experienced at the Foyer, where they lived, worked, and studied together, each urging the others on.
Thanks to generous donors Laurel and Mike Hixon, we have been able to provide that support by renting an apartment for Foyer students in Dakar. The apartment is located near the university, and is large enough to house all 13 students; it also has shared computers and a kitchen. Laurel and Mike also thought it was crucial to provide the girls with stipends for academic supplies and groceries, which their families are hard-pressed to afford. Maimouna Ka Sow visits the students regularly when she is up from Tambacounda, and our Dakar-based staff checks in with the students to help fix any issues at the apartment.
With more girls expected to pass their Bac and move to Dakar, we are already thinking about expanding this “satellite Foyer” to a larger apartment. For if the goal of the Foyer is to ensure that girls from rural Tambacounda can complete their studies rather than marry at a young age, then seeing them through their college education is essential.
If you would like to join Laurel and Mike in supporting these amazing young women, we would love to have you on board.