10,000 Girls Educational Support Program
GIRLS' FORUMS EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM
The WHEPSA Girls Forum and Free Space program fosters independent thinking, interdependent learning. The program also discusses economic responsibility toward ones family, community, country and the world. These Girl’s Forums develop gender responsive guidelines for a positive educational experience for girls and is essential to ensure that girls remain in school. These guidelines define principles on how to address imbalances and in equalities that have resulted from socially and culturally constructed difference between males and females in our Senegalese society. WHEPSA affirms that traditional home based roles, only for females, is no longer a positive investment for our developing economy. This gender bias has largely contributed to fewer enrollments of girls, less retention for those who enroll, poor performance in many subjects particularly in sciences and technical related disciplines, and less participation of girls in secondary school and higher levels of learning. These biases are usually the basis for the political and democratic inaccuracies reflective of our local and national communities.
BOOKMOBILE AND SEGOU VILLAGE LIBRARY
The 10,000 Girls/WHEPSA Bookmobile is a program devoted to bringing library books to children in the underserved rural villages of Senegal. The WHEPSA Bookmobile is a refurbished mango freight truck that has been transformed as a library on wheels. Its mission is to “bring books alive” for village children and their families, through interactive literacy activities such as reading aloud, story plays, and art projects. In addition, it is a true lending library that travels from village to village, checking out books at every stop. It has been completely filled with books, along with costumes, art supplies, and puppets. The Bookmobile addresses a serious need for children and their families in rural villages: the complete lack of books. The Bookmobile, by hosting entertaining events for kid and parents, such as story time, plays, puppet shows, and art projects, teaches village children the many fantastic new worlds that can be found in the pages of a book. By taking out a book on loan, they can practice reading during their own time, and simply enjoy the quiet pleasure of deciphering stories through pictures. Already the Bookmobile has begun service to villages and schools in the Kedougou and Tambacounda region, to the great delight of village children, teachers and parents.
DISABLED GIRLS/ YOUNG WOMEN PARTICIPANTS (KEDOUGOU AND KOUNGHEUL CENTERS)
The Including All Programs: Expanding Development of Young Women with Disabilities and Empowering All Participants Girls through Microenterprise Development, program ensures that participants remain in school while targeting disabled girls and young women, and integrating all of them into Microenterprises designed to build their local economy. WHEPSA proposes to offer a comprehensive program of microenterprise/productivity skills training and materials for disabled Senegalese girls in the Kedougou, Kaffrine, and Kaolack regions, Senegal. Using a practical approach of skills-building, the manufacture of specific products, and expanding relevant business partnerships, the project aims to upgrade the value chain and invigorate the local economy.
In the regions of Kaffrine and Kedougou, there is little opportunity for enterprising young women with disabilities. Families, believing that a disabled child will never be able to become a productive member of the family, generally refuse to spend the resources required to send these children to school. Without an education, and with little support from their families, individuals with disabilities often find themselves forced to rely on the charity of their families, neighbors, and others in order to live. A disabled girl is at a particular disadvantage, as she will generally be expected to remain at home to cook and clean, her family may not support her efforts to receive an education or to go out and work, and she will often have difficulty finding a husband as she grows older due to the perception that a handicapped woman cannot be a productive family member.
Health care is a particular obstacle for these disabled young women. In order to obtain treatment for health problems, these women must obtain transportation to a health center, must pay for a consultation, and must then be able to pay for any prescribed medicines or operations, which can often be prohibitively expensive. Considering that many of the women’s disabilities require more advanced treatment, this may require that they be seen at the hospitals of Kaolack or Dakar, for which the transportation is an enormous or even impossible burden for any impoverished Senegalese family. But even treating a bout of malaria may be difficult for a disabled woman whose family is reluctant or unable to support the cost of her treatment-seeking.
For these young women to become able to earn respect and independence, it will be essential for them to learn the skills and abilities necessary to become working members of society and to earn an income. These programs will allow these disabled women to begin economic governance, ending their reliance on the generosity of their families and allowing them to support themselves. These women will serve as role models for their communities, proving that despite their disabilities, they are able to contribute to their families and communities.
DEMOCRACY, TOLERANCE, LEADERSHIP CAMP
In 2007 there were presidential and parliamentary elections in Senegal. When asked why they would vote for particular candidates, many of the girls in WHEPSA’s 10,000 Girls Educational Support Program could not give a concrete reason. Similarly, when asked what would happen if they broke the law, most assumed that regardless of the nature of this offense, their fathers or husbands would ‘take care of them’. When asked, the girls could not differentiate between Senegalese National law, Islamic law and tradition or customary laws. These examples demonstrated an absence of civil and individual responsibility.
The key is to empower them with knowledge and understanding. The Democracy Camp’s aim is to make the girls themselves aware that they are entitled to certain rights in society; the right to be educated in a safe environment, and rights as human beings, as women and as children, and the right to be human. The intention is that this knowledge and will enable them to exercise these rights and participate in the process necessary to insure these rights.
WHEPSA INCLUSIVE EDUCATION PILOT FOR DISABLED HEARING AND SEEING CHILDREN
WHEPSA sent one of its motor disabled participants to 11 villages ( Segou, Dindefello, Pellel Kindessa, Ya Moussa, Medina Boussra, Bidiary, Dande, Bandifassi Bedik, Enjel, Iwol). She spoke with each village chief, parents of disabled child, and the child also. She informed them that WHEPSA with Ministry Of Education (MOE) wants to begin educating disabled children in the public school at Segou and Thioncumello. Each parent and child agreed and these children were listed. WHEPSA has a list of 41 children.
The Director of WHEPSA visited the inclusive SIGHTSAVERS/MOE program in Dakar. She also visited inclusive schools in the United States. She has met with specialist in Disabled Education, reviewed program and project.
WHEPSA recommends that the initial CI class of visual impaired, motor impaired, and non disabled students be installed at Segou. WHEPSA recommends that in initial CI class of hearing –speech impaired and non-disable pupils be installed at Thioncoumello. And, each subsequent year and additional class added.
WHEPSA recommends that each class contain no more that 6 disable students between the ages of 4-10 years. Each two disabled student must have one assistant throughout the school day. This assistant will accompany the pupils to and from school.