Made With Love has been working with Maison Rose in Dakar, Senegal since 2010. Our Maison Rose Stretch Bracelets provide a source of income for their residents as well as for the women of the surrounding community.
We have just received the annual report from Unies Vers’Elle Senegal, the NGO that funds and runs Maison Rose and we’d like to share with you some of this information demonstrating the important work they are doing in this region.
In 2008 Unies Vers’Elle founded Maison Rose, a home in Senegal that shelters adolescents, young single mothers, children and women who have been victim to physical and psychological violence. Located in one of the poorest slums of Dakar, Maison Rose gives care and psychological support, guiding the women out of the streets and into the professional workforce. Since there is so much poverty and suffering amongst the women in Medina Gounass, the slum where Maison Rose is located, the demand for help is very high. Maison Rose works with external sources, governmental and non-governmental organizations and different state services.
Maison Rose works to help women through protection, prevention and integration into the workforce. They protect the women by giving them nutritional support, building the relationship between mother and child, serving as a day care for children, helping with social and legal services and providing psychological and educative support through many different pre-professional workshops. In addition, they hold meetings of awareness about abuse, health problems, community tolerance and acceptance. Through these socio-educative activities, girls are able to plan their lives based on their own interests and desires while starting over on a new path. Micro-workshops also help them learn about certain professions that correspond to different areas of employment.
In 2010, Maison Rose expanded and opened their doors to the adolescents of the neighborhood. They started small economic projects that helped the girls begin to build micro-credit and a professional future. In addition, they supported 120 girls, adolescents, young single mothers, and women. 38 women and 14 children were housed at Maison Rose, and 67 women and adolescents were supported in day care. On average, 30 people were helped at 2 weekly literacy work shops in French-Wolof, theater, drawing and expression, sewing and embroidery, hygiene and health, community involvement and sports.
Here are two examples of a child and a young women who were directed to Maison Rose for help :
“M” - a nine year old girl
“M”s family entrusted her to a family in Dakar. As she was not in school and was illegal (she was born in Guinea), she served many months as a servant in a house. While there, she was raped by a farm worker and the family that was housing her did not want to keep her. She was brought to Maison Rose by the organization SOS Enfants Disparus. Immediately, Maison Rose collaborated with AFJ to set up judicial support and supported her during the 8 different times that she had to return to court. Each of the visits inflicted a psychological strain on “M” but support was given to her each time by the team at Maison Rose. Her rapist was sentenced to 10 years in prison and her guardian decided, in agreement with the AEMO Services, to let her stay at Maison Rose. Her resident status has been taken care of and she is now studying in a private class.
“ M.K.” - a 25-year-old woman
Raised by her aunt and uncle, ”M.K.” returned to her mother at the age of 20. Her mother worked as a prostitute and she quickly followed the same path. Often sharing the same clients, she and her mother were in a situation of perpetual conflict. Already a mother to one child, ”M.K.” found herself pregnant again. In response to her pregnancy, her mother threw her out. She was directed by the Social Services of the Department of Social Action to Maison Rose where she had a baby girl. Providing care for her has been difficult because of her past life as a prostitute and her attraction to money. But through the support of the Maison Rose team, she has decided to voluntarily isolate herself from this life style which has allowed her to think about her future in a more serene way. She attends different workshops and now wants to do training in the field of catering.
The work of Maison Rose is extremely important because they are providing alternatives to girls who are subject to unhealthy mental and physical conditions and the promiscuity of their milieu. They lack guidance from their parents and are left on the streets to try and make a living on their own. Maison Rose is working on the department and national level to ensure the permanence of their actions. They use a team made up of paid workers and volunteers to make sure that these young women are given the proper tools to succeed in the world.