Happy almost-weekend and happy #sponsoredkids Friday! Today, I want you to meet this cutie, Mohameth. He is from the Tattaguine region of Senegal (about 2 hours from the coast). He is 15 and shares a birthday with Taylor Swift (don’t ask me why I know that)!
He has 1 brother and 1 sister and lives with his parents. He loves football and math, and speaks Serere. J’allais vous montrer quelques mots de vocabulaire de base dans sa langue, mais Google ne savait pas parler Serere.
Last year in Tattaguine, World Vision taught 40 children how to teach other children about self-protection and what their rights were. The image directly above this paragraph shows children being involved in a community demonstration, demanding that their rights be recognized. An 11 year child who protested said, “I used to see children being mistreated. I felt sad because I did not know what to do. After training, I learned I have to fight for my rights and the rights of my friends in the community.” Roughly translated, these signs are saying that the children are against early marriage, rape, and being sent away for work/marriage. The signs say (to the best of my knowledge): “Let me finish my studies” “I denounce rape” “Dad, I do not want to go to Dakar” “Protect the children”. These kids are so young, and yet, brave enough to fight for themselves and their friends.
Here are some of the common challenges faced specifically by children in Senegal:
– Only 1 out of 5 Senegalese girls, on average, attend high school.
– For every 10 men, only 6 women are literate.
– Almost a quarter of all Senegalese children begin to work to supplement their family’s income between the ages of 5 and 14.
– Working children are often exposed to things they cannot physically or mentally protect themselves from – violence, being over-worked, and sexual assault.
– In a study done between 2000 and 2009, almost 40% of Senegalese girls reported having been married before the age of 18 (often in arranged marriages, which lack basic consent).
– Births are not always legally documented in poor communities. The issue with that is that only legal citizens are afforded legal protections and rights. So, if a child lacks a birth certificate, he or she lacks basic rights in their country and the eyes of the government.
If you’ve explored WV’s website, you’ll see that there are Child Protection funds to which you can give. Have you ever wondered what that really means? I know I did. Well, as it turns out, those funds go towards combatting the issues I described above. That can look like training children to go on to teach other children about their rights, assisting community leaders in pushing for better local enforcement of federal laws, fighting at a federal level for protective legislation to be passed for children’s rights, or simply making each village more stable so that the adults have the financial ability and time to fight for the protection of their children. All of it helps and all of it matters.
Challenge: I know the emotional weight that comes as an adult, fighting for the things I believe in. Now imagine being 11 years old and going to a protest simply because you want to finish high school. My challenge to our team was to write to a child in the Tattaguine region of Senegal this week, tell them we support children’s rights, and encourage them to keep fighting for one another. We could all use a reminder that we’re not alone when we face big battles, right? So for our readers this week, I would ask you to first, pray for our friends in Senegal who are protesting for child rights. Second, consider the ways in which you might be able to let someone in your life know that they are not fighting their battles alone.