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The Senegalese Education Fund

Hello! My name is Judy Kader and I have recently returned from my posting to Senegal, West Africa. As I am sure Idon't have to explain to any of you, the readjustment process truly has its ups and downs. One of the ways that I am helping my own readjustment, is by continuing some of the projects that I helped start while in Senegal. To this end, the Senegalese Education Fund (or SEF) was born.

The Senegalese Education Fund was started in June of 2000 for the purpose of providing monetary aid for education to young people in Senegal. Presently, one in 25 boys graduate high school. Only 1 in 75 girls ever earn a high school diploma. Of these extraordinary young people who persevere through high school, only a few can afford to go on tohigher education. Even if a family can afford the cost oftuition to a University or Technical School, the cost of housing the student in an urban area is usually beyond theirmeans.

Young Senegalese face many obstacles to getting an education, including sexual discrimination, bribery, and family status and situation. Due to the low enrollment of younggirls in the formal government education system, Girls Clubs have started as an alternative. They 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.

The SEF fund was started to offer monetary supplementsto both high school graduates to continue their educationand to Girls Clubs to support the work that they are doing. An average year at university or technical school costs approximately $1000 and operating a Girls Club for one year costs approximately $200. This includes all the tuition, books, and living costs of higher education and the travel and materials costs of the Girls Club.

Currently, the biggest challenge that the Senegalese Education Fund faces is that we do not have 501 C(3) (non-profit) status. That's where YOU come in. We would like to become a project sheltered by the RPCV of Wisconsin-Madison. To do this, we need some members of the Madison group to volunteer to sit on our Steering Committee.

We have had, and are continuing to have, meetings in Milwaukee every other month. They last approximately twohours. Right now we are overseeing and managing the Girl's Club Logistics as well as our overseas projects, including two higher education scholarships and one Girl's Club.

Our fund is up and running but it needs your help to reach our goals and continue growing. As a volunteer to this committee, you would be responsible for attending our meetings, reporting back to the Madison group and assisting with the financial distributions from the Madison group to SEF.