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At the Daara de Malika, children are provided with a general education that is founded upon a deep respect for their cultural heritage and traditional upbringing. They are thus offered courses in French, Arab, the Koran, Wolof, mathematics, and natural sciences so as to enable them to meet the standards required by the public education system and pass the official examinations at the end of the primary cycle. The high quality of education at the Daara de Malka is reflected by the fact that its students frequently outperform the national average on official state-wide examinations.
STAFF… recreating a universal family
The 21 hard-working and committed staff members at the Daara de Malika include a Director, four French teachers, two Arab teachers, a Wolof teacher, a woodworking instructor, a children supervisor, a superintendent, a nurse, a nursing assistant, a pharmacist, a night guard, a gardener, a poultry farmer, and a team of four women who oversee cooking, cleaning, and laundry while also fulfilling the roles of grandmother, mother, and aunt for the boys living at the school. The Daara also plans to welcome several artists and instructors specialising in the arts of weaving, pottery, ceramics, and painting in the near future.
The Daara de Malika has always relied on the hard work of dedicated volunteers for its successful functioning, and all the personnel now at the school give generously of their time, skills, and energy in this way. But it must be noted that in a country where more than half the population lives below the poverty line – that is to say on less than one dollar per day – it is far too difficult for most people to engage in volunteer work, or at least not in the strictest sense of the term. It is for this reason that we give our employees a small monthly allowance to help offset transportation expenses and other household costs.
Since 2004, the Daara has also benefited from the contribution of many young international volunteers, as throughout the year university students from Belgium, France, Italy, and Canada come to the school to lead children in Math and French courses as well as other artistic and athletic activities.
With the generous support of AIFA, the Intercultural Chair of the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi, and other educational institutions in Canada and around the world, we hope to build a bridge of solidarity that shall span different cultures and generations by uniting all around the “Universal Table of Giving and Receiving”, the grand dream of the poet, President, and founding father of Daara, Léopold Sédar Senghor.