Maison de la Gare (MDG) is a Senegalese non-profit non-governmental organization, founded in 2007. Its objective is to protect the rights of the begging talibé street children by improving their living conditions and level of education while providing much needed primary aid, in and around the community of Saint Louis, Senegal.

Senegal, like other West African countries, has a tradition of enrolling children, mainly boys between the ages of 4 and 20, into Quranic schools called daaras.  These boys are often sent by their families to study with marabouts, religious scholars who may house the children in their daaras. These children are known as talibés. The word comes from the Arabic “talib”, meaning student or disciple.

The talibés typically come from very poor families in Senegal or neighbouring countries. Although they are meant to receive a basic education and to learn the Quran, in fact they are most often found in the streets where they beg for 6 to 10 hours a day for their food and a quota of money. They live in primitive daaras without access to drinking water or basic hygiene facilities, and with only rudimentary shelter.

Now, their ability to sustain their activities is facing a crisis. After eight years of support, March 2020 will mark the end of their grants from the Global Fund for Children. The United Nations Slavery Fund supported them from 2013 to 2018, their maximum for consecutive years of sustained contribution. And their European Union grant ends on December 31st, 2019. They have made applications to two United Nations funds for new funding for 2020, but will not know the outcome until this December. And, even if one of these grant applications is successful, it will only suffice to sustain a minimal level of on-going activity, nowhere near sufficient for the needs that they are addressing.

In light of the organisation’s current financial context, this TIE project will help Maison de la Gare scope new funding opportunities to sustain their programs, and develop an actionable strategy so they can achieve financial sustainability in the future and not find themselves in this situation again. Nicola Graham from Octopus Investments in going on TIE in 2020 to develop this project with Maisond de la Gare. You can read more about her here.