Maison de la Gare is a local association established in Saint Louis, Senegal in September 2007 with the objective of finding a permanent local solution to the harmful practice and slave labour of children and street children while integrating them into productive participation in Senegalese society. As many as 7 000 talibé children live in primitive Koranic schools or “daaras” in St. Louis and beg on the streets for their food and money for their teachers known as Marabouts.
A good background reference can be found in a recently published BBC report which was filmed with Saint Louis and Dakar with the co-operation of La Maison de la Gare. –
Maison de la Gare aims to combat this abuse through literacy and other educational classes, and by offering participation in sports, arts and local apprenticeship programmes. Maison de la Gare’s early programmes were offered at a rented facility in the former Saint Louis railway station (thereof the name of the association). As many as 300 talibé youth gathered there each afternoon to receive a nourishing snack, and to participate in literacy classes, recreational activities and to receive basic hygiene care. The initial working grounds were progressively lost to an adjacent market through outthe spring of 2009 so it became clear that a new site was essential to allow Maison de la Gare’s programme to continue. With valuable contributions from the Ammer Foundation, Oxford Friends of Senegal, Reverend Charles F. Jonston Charitable Foundation of Canada, and United Kingdom Talibé Project, La Maison de la Gare purchased a permanent site in Saint Louis- an ideal location comprising a 727 square meter area. The continuation of the programme is intended to be financed by means of the MDG- Volunteering Initiative which is implemented in consultations with Sustainable Development Group International SDGI.