To give people equal chances
We provide support for the vocational school for girls in Dakar, Foyer s. Maria Goretti, ran by Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. What we want to do here is exactly the same thing that we do in all our institutions, according to the mission of the Good Factory: to give people equal chances. We want to make sure that EVERYONE we meet has the same chances that we would like for ourselves, for our loved ones and friends
How the school for girls works
The school offers a two year curriculum for 56 girls aged 17 to 23. They are inhabitants of nearby villages, poor districts of Dakar, daughters of economic migrants from Guinea-Bissau. Learning with the sisters is a great chance for them.
A diploma from Foyer is a ticket to having a job. It is a chance to escape poverty, further emigration (also to Europe), a chance for stability necessary to establish a family.
This is how the system works: for one week, the girls participate in courses including child care, economy, cooking, household work, savoir-vivre etc. For the second week, they work at a nearby crèche, which is also managed by the Franciscan sisters.
POLISH DEVELOPMENTAL AID PROJECT – what’s new?
For a long time, our dream was to provide more opportunities to students at our all-girls school. We wanted to offer more classes in sewing and the basics of entrepreneurship and law in order to equip them with the skills and confidence to enter the job market or start their own business. We compiled a list of needs, worked out how to best meet them, and then entered the competition “Polish Developmental Aid 2019” organized by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Our infectious passion for the project persuaded the committee and we were given a two year grant to realize this exciting project.
The funds we received were used for an almost complete overhaul of the school. We modernized classrooms, students’ rooms and kitchens. We bought computers, teaching aids, sewing machines and professional embroidery machines. We stocked up on essential textbooks and required reading for the library. We were also able to buy our first car, finally providing the Foyer with its own means of transport.
That’s not all! We also administered a series of training on project management, budgeting and accounting basics, which concluded with participants starting a co-op to learn about the practical aspects of entrepreneurship. Our two-year training was extended by one year during which the girls learned how to build a brand and enter the local market with their own preserves and handmade textiles.
We set up a wooden workshop imported from Poland in front of the school to give students a space for sewing clothes, bags, aprons, etc. The structure has become a local attraction. Not only does it fulfill its main function as a workshop, it also has the added benefit of luring in many curious on-lookers – potential customers. Visitors can purchase the girls’ beautiful sewing creations in the newly built boutique café on the school premises, all while enjoying delicious food and aromatic coffee. No one leaves with empty hands or an empty belly.
The revolution at Foyer has given our students hope for a safe and bright future, but our work isn’t done yet. In addition to running the school, we want to continue to increase our educational offers.
We want our students to believe that no matter how poor they grew up, they are worthy of a good education and dignified job. We give them the tools to change their and their families’ social standing, and cheer them on once they set out into the world.