Education continues even after devastating effects of flooding
October 12, 2011: The rainy season between July and September affects the lives of thousands living in Dakar. This year, houses and businesses were destroyed and schools and pathways flooded, unable to be accessed safely. Yet even under these conditions, children and teachers returned for ‘la rentrée’- the first day back at school.
For Sam Sam III, a public school in Diamaguene, getting into the building was almost impossible. But with children and teachers eager to start lessons, the community built a temporary bridge so that pupils could start school again. The children’s enthusiasm to attend school in spite of losing everything to the flooding was palpable and it is this eagerness for education that inspires Plan Senegal to work to keep schools open, even after the impact of the floods on small communities like Diamaguene.
Such floods destroy buildings, home and schools every year, and repairs often cost too much to be carried out properly in order to avoid more damage. Schools sometimes have to be torn down, making children’s access to education even harder than before. "We are tired of living in the water every time it rains. we need a healthy environment to live in and go to school like other children in the country," a local school child tells us.
Universal education for children is something Plan works tirelessly to support and make happen throughout Africa and, in Senegal, educational rights for children are on the rise. But with flash flooding in Deamaguene resulting in over 2000 students at Sam Sam III sharing six classrooms, teaching and learning is a struggle for both the children and teachers at the school. Natural disasters like this make the promotion of universal education difficult in Dakar, but Plan Senegal still strives to ensure that as many children as possible receive a good education.
Plan in action
Along with providing school equipment for children after the floods, including books, bags and stationary, Plan Senegal is also providing disinfectants to keep schools clean and free of waterborne diseases like cholera.
Plan Senegal has also been funding pumping vehicles to extract the water from heavily flooded areas, helping to speed up the recovery process so that communities can start to rebuild their lives. Plan has provided sandbags to help soak up the rainwater that remains, making paths safer and more accessible. "With the help of Plan we can go to school despite the fact our area is under water. We do not have to risk waiting for months before joining classes again," a local school child from the Diamaguene region says.