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Article on SEF by the Milwaukee Community Journal

In No. 43, August 15, 2001. Published with permission. All rights reserved to the MCJ


Local woman hopes to help Senegalese

What do Senegal, West Africa and Milwaukee have in common?

Up until recently, not much. But that was before the Senegalese Education Fund, a non-profit organization that provides monetary aid for education to young people in Senegal.

Judith Kader, a former Peace Corps Volunteer, started the SEF Project after her return to the U.S., in June of 2000.

The Project recently received its 501(c)(3) status as a non-profit organization under the umbrella of the Returned Peace Corps of Madison. While she was living in Senegal, Judith lived, worked and connected with many young people. She realized that one of the most important differences that could be made in their lives was having access to both formal and informal education.

Presently, one in 25 Senegalese boys graduate from high school. Only one in 75 girls earns a high school diploma. Out of the extraordinary young people who have persevered through high school, only a few can afford to go to college.

Due to the low enrollment of girls in the formal government education system, Girls Clubs have started as an alternative all over the country. These offer meetings focused on a central theme, including writing, reading, mathematics, money management and craft making, while utilizing local women as their facilitators and teachers.

An average year at the university or technical school costs approximately $1000 and operating a Girls Club for a year costs approximately $1500. This includes all the tuition, books and living costs.

Helene is 22 years old. Her family is paying for one of her brothers to attend school, so her education goals had been deemed unrealistic. With help from the SEF Project, she is enrolled in the Technical School of Dakar.

Lamine is 20 years old and graduated from high school in Thies, Senegal in 1999, where he was born and raised. His artistic talent and his love for computers are now being nurtured in the computer design program that he has enrolled in, with help from the Senegalese Education Fund.

Fundraising opportunities are being developed in the Milwaukee area with the hopes that corporations and/or educational organizations will assist in supporting the SEF Project's efforts.

To make a donation, contact Judith Kader at 263-2081 or send a check to Judith Kader, 2608 N. Buffum Street, Milwaukee, 53212.