According to Human Rights Watch, as many as 50,000 children beg in the streets of Senegal, a former French colony in Africa. Even though it is one of the more politically stable African countries, poverty is a huge challenge that affects a large part of the country's population. Many children are forced to beg for money and food, which often leads to abusive and exploitative working conditions. Close to half of the population of Dakar, Senegal, lives below the poverty line (earning less than one euro a day), and 43% are illiterate. In the past, Senegal was seen as one of Africa’s model democracies, but internal conflict and lack of education and professional development have created dim prospects for the country's youth. Many of these children are also immigrants and refugees from neighboring countries without access to education or documentation.
Despite the reality of daily hardship, Play for Peace is thriving in the outskirts of Dakar. The Senegal club was founded late in 2014 and has been transforming local communities ever since. The leaders there are passionate about empowering others and creating peace, finding ways to transcend differences in language, culture, and religion in order to bring together children to play and learn compassion for one another. This includes El Hadj, a mentor who has dedicated his time and talents to bring together children from the poorest areas of Dakar, offering them meaningful activities, a safe space, and the opportunity to have fun together.
Play for Peace Senegal will continue spreading laughter and compassion to children and teens in their communities. This includes a new summer camp program created by El Hadj and his club that provides children a safe place to play and come together as a community.
"The Play for Peace Senegal team gathers all of the children after school so that they do not wander the streets. They put them in an environment where children are motivated and inspired to do their best."
Play for Peace Senegal
Pikine Thiaroye Club
Play for Peace Senegal continues to change the lives of and inspire children each day. And mentor El Hadj Beye is committed to the children and the work that needs to be done in the community.
Play For Peace Senegal certainly played at the Global Unity Games. The Building Bridges Games ran from September 9-24, and Team Senegal went all out. Here are some of the highlights.
As part of World Interfaith Harmony Week, Play for Peace Senegal worked to teach young people the fundamentals of peace, cooperation, and tolerance.