Written by World Vision Senegal; Edited by Kaija Hutteri and Katie Hackett
With the help of sponsors, we were able to launch children’s clubs in the community of Diamagadio last year. Our goal was to provide a place where boys and girls can learn about their rights, form meaningful friendships and have a voice in their community.
Babacar finds acceptance at his children’s club
Babacar, a five-year-old boy, struggled to fit in with the other children after joining one of these clubs. Community members made a point of avoiding his family due to social stigma. Although he attended club meetings, Babacar did not make any friends and often played alone. As soon as he approached the other girls and boys, they would stop playing and pretend they needed to go home.
Seeing the sadness in Babacar’s eyes prompted the facilitator of the children’s club to take action. She began visiting Babacar’s family, which astonished members of the community. She also educated the girls and boys in her club about discrimination, as well as their rights and responsibilities.
The facilitator made an effort to have Babacar play a central role in group activities. Little by little, the other children became more interested in him, and his confidence soared! Today, Babacar has many friends because the girls and boys in his village realized that he is no different from them.
Young people find confidence to speak up
To date, four children’s clubs have been formed in the community of Diamagadio with the support of sponsors. In addition to learning about their rights, boys and girls have opportunities to improve their communication skills. This allows them to have a voice in their community and become agents of change.
Children use drama presentations to spread positive messages in their community. Photo: World Vision
Children like Babacar have carried out awareness campaigns to teach families in their village about malaria and child marriage. Many boys and girls that once lacked confidence are now working together to change their community for the better.
With the generosity of our sponsors, we will continue to empower children to speak up about the harmful impact of early marriage, the value of birth certificates and improvements needed in the education and healthcare system.
Children’s clubs teach girls and boys that their voices matter!