Diapalante is located in Kaolack in Central Senegal. A long way off the tourist-track it is situated on the Saloum River. The city is busy with lively markets, beautiful mosques and well-built roads.
Kaolack has large, sandy streets and although taxis are a common means of transport, so are horses and carts. Many people in Kaolack have a strong faith and you will have a chance to learn about Islam while becoming fully integrated into Senegalese culture as the two are closely linked especially in Kaolack. French is spoken by some, but most people only speak Wolof. You will quickly develop a basic ability to communicate which will progress throughout your year.
The centre is run by a British charity, the name ‘Diapalante’ is Wolof and means mutual assistance, partnership or solidarity. It is a well-established organisation and has been working with Project Trust for over 10 years. The centre’s focus is on teaching English, and IT skills, but how this is done depends a lot on you.
You will be teaching English classes to all age ranges and abilities. The centre has various projects so you may also get involved in teaching IT and writing online blogs and looking after the computer and the library. In recent years, volunteers have been involved in a sanitary product project for girls in the local community. The centre is always busy and work can be demanding and challenging but you will see a high level of impact from the work you do and come to be good friends with the members. Most members have some level of French (and a lot speak it very well) so your teaching can take place in French, English, and as your Wolof improves, also in Wolof. The centre’s website and blog can be found online at www.diapalante.org and this will give you a fuller insight into both the charity itself and the work you may be involved in.
You will live in the centre where you and your partner will have a shared bedroom. There is also a bathroom with a toilet and shower. You will eat meals with the Manager of the centre (Mamadou Kane) and his family at their home which is just a two-minute walk up the street and you will find yourself quickly becoming part of the family – spending time drinking attaya (Senegalese tea), meeting friends and practicing your Wolof/French. There are lots of nearby shops to buy any essential bits and pieces although the market is never far and you can get anything there – if you know where to look!
Your living allowance provided by Project Trust will cover your daily living costs.
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