Newsletter - AVENIR PLUS
Mbour Senegal
April 2013

The end of the second trimester is here. Time has passed so quickly since the beginning of the school year...
The trimester ended on a very sad note, with the death of Djibril Faye on March 22. The day before, Djibril was still teaching, and his tragic death left us very speechless and sad. He was with us since the creation of the school. May he rest in peace.

Our two new additional classes are doing very well and it’s so great to have 25 kids in CI and CP where constant attention is needed. I am not sure what next year will bring as the students in CP will move up to CE1 and there is no room for further expansion...The middle and high students took their end of the semester exams and all sponsors received their students’ report cards. At the elementary level, the second trimester essays also took place and report cards were also mailed to the sponsors.

during the break
During the break

In addition to our regular volunteers, four university students from Belgium joined us last trimester to work with the children (2 finishing up their teaching degrees and the other 2 working on their special education degree.) Such young volunteers always bring a breath of fresh air and new energy to school even though they find the absence of technology in the classroom to be a challenge.

We also received the help of a couple of American sponsors, who came to assist with middle and high school English classes for a month. The students were thrilled.

Our volonteers
Some of our volunteers

The last stretch of the academic year starts April 8th and will end in late June for most of the students, with the exception of those preparing for and taking national exams. New sponsors have continued to join our ranks, and to this day, all the needs for sponsors have been met! The children are deeply grateful to all of you.

Cathy et 2 parraines
Cathy with the last two sponsored children

We printed a series of postcards of the school that we are selling to visitors (five cards for €5). A few local merchants have agreed to sell some on our behalf to help us out. This is just another way for us to try to raise the money that will be necessary for us to eventually build a new school for the children on our own land. Unfortunately, we have yet to find a foundation willing to support this building project on the level necessary, and postcards alone will not get us to this goal.
The goal is to build a school that can support the needs of current and future students. It will be approximately 18,000 square feet, 3 levels, and built to European standards for the safety of the children.

Notre Ecole

The construction would take place in two phases. The completion of the first phase would allow us to transfer most of the kindergarten and elementary levels to the new building and as a result we would save approximately $7,700 per year. Today, our rentals cost us $24,000 per year for buildings that are unsanitary, unsafe and would never pass building inspections. Not only are these conditions part of daily life for children, from one day to the next, rent could increase at the whim of the landlord, or they could simply evict us.
The cost of the first phase (foundations and first floor) is estimated to be approximately $325,000.00 with the total cost of the construction estimated at $775,000.00 (based on a 2013 estimate.) Unfortunately, our virtual wall was not successful in reaching the funding levels necessary to get the construction project off the ground. However, we remain optimistic that we will find a way to build the school that these children need and deserve, and we therefore continue to seek other means to reach these goals. All ideas are welcome, and we appreciate your ongoing support.