When Sisters from the US and Italy arrived in Senegal in 1978, they encountered extreme poverty, infant and maternal mortality, and little access to healthcare and education. They established missions to minister to the forgotten poor in the impoverished village of Koungheul in the interior of the country and in Parcelles, a suburb of the capital city of Dakar. Today 16 Sisters operate programs across the country in Dakar, Koumbidia, Koungheul, Missira, Samine and Rufisque-Keur Mbaye.
Maternity centers at two health clinics have helped decrease the mortality rate for mothers and children through pre and postnatal care; immunizations against the scourge of parasitic infections; and educational outreach on disease prevention and nutrition. Four vocational centers provide skill training for women to enhance their economic opportunities. Daycare centers and two well-equipped elementary schools extend educational opportunity to children who would not have had a chance to learn.
DAKAR –PARCELLES ASSAINIES Frances Schervier Formation Center Women from different ethnic groups who have had no formal education or those who have limited education benefit from a well-rounded curriculum that integrates courses in life skills with traditional tailor training. Core classes in the four-year program prepare them for jobs in western tailoring, embroidery, clothing production, and textile dyeing. Life skills classes include family economics, socio-cultural and spiritual integration, French literacy, health and hygiene. Some 80 young women from different ethnic groups attend the Center and pay a small fee.
Tuition for Education With financial support from compassionate and caring friends, the Sisters encourage education for children and young adults. This is the first step in breaking the cycle of poverty. In 2017 we have supported 267 students (Kindergarten, Elementary and High school, and University) from Dakar, Samine and Koungheul.
KOUMBIDIA, MISSIRA & LWANGA St. Francis Clinics and Maternity Center The St. Francis Clinics and Maternity Centers serve all sectors of the population, with priority extended to the most disenfranchised. Community health care agents assist the Sisters with basic healthcare and education about nutrition and disease prevention.
It is not uncommon for women in Senegal to give birth on dirt floors, and unhygienic conditions in their homes. Only 58% of births take place with a skilled medical attendant present. Trained mid-wives, provide essential pre- and post-natal care to help stem infant and maternal mortality. More than 600 consultations are being offered each year. In 2017, 9,307 people were served.
1,126 children for weighing and vaccinations
3,203 children provided with medical care
3,948 adults received consultations
711 women for visits during their pregnancy and postnatal period
118 women gave birth in the clinics.
Sister Giusy Nutrition Program This program was started to provide milk for orphans and help combat malnourishment in children by serving nutritious meals. The program has grown to serve over 1,000 children in 32 villages. Each village now organizes its own on-site kitchen twice a week. The original five orphans that initiated the effort are now growing strong and healthy. The mothers who come to the program manage their own micro-business projects in the villages spreading their knowledge of healthy food preparation while combating malnutrition and learning how to be self-confident and self-sufficient.
KOUNGHEUL Benedicta Formation Center The Formation Center teaches 70 women from Koungheul and Lwanga. They learn textile-dyeing, production of soap in pieces, soap powder, and fruit juice, to help them grow in self-esteem and prepare them for financial independence. The program also emphasizes ethics, interpersonal relationships and spiritual development.
Frances Schervier Kindergarten Before the Sisters established the Daycare Center, working parents relied upon older children to care for their younger siblings. The program has three class levels for 88 children of various ages who attend five days each week. Early training prepares them for elementary school. St. Anthony of Padua School The opening of St. Anthony School in 2000 represents a major step in the advancement of girls and women who would not have received an education. The program has six classes and serves more than 237 students from the bush area around Koungheul.
Frances Schervier Dormitory Frances Schevier Dormitory has bedrooms, kitchen, dining room and a study accommodating 72 girls ages 6 to 20 from poor families living too far from schools. Our educational programs in Senegal starts in kindergarten and offers a framework for life and study to help children grow into responsible women.
LWANGA St Charles of Lwanga Elementary School and Kindergarten is modeled after the successful St. Anthony of Padua School in Koungheul. The school has extended educational opportunities to 115 children. RUFISQUE-KEUR MBAYE FALL St. Claire Formation Center The St. Claire Formation Center is a school, which offers a second chance to girls from poor families who drop out of school. This program helps 60 girls and mothers ages 15 to 45. Courses include French literacy, Cutting/Sewing, Dyeing, Embroidery, Restoration, Home Economics and Self-awareness.
Mame Elizabeth Kindergarten Mame Elisabeth kindergarten is a primary school for children in Keur Mbaye Fall, a newly established neighborhood in Dakar, which is quite isolated and poor, where there is no formal education for children. The kindergarten hosts 45 children ages 3 to 5. In addition, we employ 13 people (young kids, mothers and fathers). This initiative had a significant impact in neighborhoods, relieving many families of a place for their children during working hours.
SAMINE St. Francis Kindergarten and elementary school in Samine and surrounding villages Since 2006, Sisters have offered classes for 150 kindergarten and elementary school children in remote villages around Samine where there is little or no access to education. They also benefit from the school canteen and primary medical care when needed.