52 Pumps in 52 Weeks – Senegal – Project 08 – Hann Maristes Youth Prison, Dakar
Hann Maristes Minor Prison, Dakar, Senegal
Northeast of Downtown Dakar in district Hann Maristes is a youth prison. The residents are men approximately aged 13-24. At any given time there are anywhere from 50 to 70 residents occupying the prison for crimes ranging from theft and smoking marijuana to murder. This week there are 56. Their prison sentences, pending the crime, vary from 1 week to 3 years, but typically no longer.
Saliou Faye, the Hann Maristes social worker, says they often have a problem with kids who complete their sentence, but return the next week. I told him the United States and Senegal are more similar than we know.
Many of the kids in prison come from broken homes, have one or more dead parents, or for some reason or another ended up trying to fend for themselves on the streets. The prison provides basic human necessities and even though obtaining a community, stability, and food, in this case, means doing something illegal and giving up freedom, many are willing to do so, be it consciously or unconsciously.
Cisse, one of the garden guards, explained that literacy classes do not do much good for those who stay less than 2 or 3 months, and what the prisoners really need are skills. This is why Cisse works in the garden. He says, “I am giving back to my community by teaching these kids something they can use when they leave.”
There are usually 6 young men, two security guards, a Tostan field employee, and a Peace Corps Volunteer, David Vaughan, who maintain the garden. The 6 young men are longer term residents of Hann Maristes whose offenses, from what I gather, as a few did not want to talk about it, are mostly minor theft to fighting. They are very excited about the garden, work really hard, and understandably spend as much time as possible tending to it.
There is a garden attached to the prison designed to provide supplemental foods for the kitchen, teach a group of long term prison residents a skill and most importantly, give them something to do. The garden is still a new endeavor, but despite its immaturity and lack of reasonably accessible water (until recently, when a well was dug), they have onions, moringa oleifera, eggplant, and baby mango trees starting to grow.
Tostan financed the well and a water storage basin, which makes this location perfectly set up for a pump. As a group of Tostan, Peace Corps, Guards, and the regular young men that tend to the garden, we will install the pump and do an in-depth training on exactly how each part works. This will help ensure the longevity of the pump as well as the health of the veggies they produce.
About 60 individuals, depending on the week, will benefit from the project.
Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Marcie Todd and David Vaughan, Marie Nazon (a Fulbright Scholar working for Tostan)
Marcie further explains:
This one I think is one of the more important pumps we've done, which is shocking because it is in the capitol city of Dakar. It is really just incredible how excited the guys were to put the pump together and really learn how it works. They asked so many questions, we hung out, drank coffee, and talked a lot about where they see themselves going in the future.
Dollar Amount of Project
Donations Collected to Date
Dollar Amount Needed
$0.00 – This project has now been fully funded through the generosity of Stephanie Williamson, of Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
If you now contribute $100, your name will be placed on the waiting list to adopt the next project in order.
If you wish to contribute less than $100, the money will be applied toward the overall program.
This project has been finished. To read about the conclusion of the project, CLICK HERE.