LAKE RETBA – SENEGAL
“A child once awakened is like a flower in bloom”
A new hospital for street children in Senegal
According to UNICEF, over 10,000 children in Senegal live in the streets where they have to beg for survival and are forced into prostitution, drug trafficking and other illicit activities which endanger their health and safety and damage their moral integrity. Most of these children are boys. Out-fostering of children is a widespread practice in Senegal that is often abused for the purposes of trafficking. These children live in abject poverty and the longer they live in the streets, the more difficult it is to ensure their social reintegration.
To this end, Village Pilote has opened two accommodation and reintegration shelters on Lac Rose for young people aged 13 to 25: The Tremplin (for 13-17 year olds) and The Oasis (for 17-25 year olds). The Association set up this shelter to offer stability to these young people and to foster their professional integration by developing their literacy skills, and providing training and professional internships.
At the end of 2013, a doctor carried out a medical audit at Village Pilote to assess the state of health of the children and the quality of care provided. On this second point, the findings of the audit showed that although the Village Pilote staff was motivated they were not trained and that the center was grossly ill-equipped and not adapted to provide the type of care needed.
To correct these issues, the Association decided to build a hospital and called upon the Wavestone Foundation to help improve the access to quality health care for the young people in the shelter.
The hospital opened in June 2016.
Village Pilote, a Franco/Senegalese Association based in Senegal, was founded in 1994 to help these children break the vicious circle of living in the streets. To achieve this, the association has implemented a three-pronged approach for the children at risk which is focused on prevention, protection and reintegration.