The aim of the “My Mother’s Castle” project was to set up a hostel in the desert region of “Château d’eau” (in Atar, Mauritania) where the Daughters of Charity have been living for 25 years.
In this particularly poor and isolated region, the Daughters are highly respected by the authorities and the predominantly Muslim population because of their involvement with the most vulnerable people.
A home renovation provided a place for children to receive education and food security, as many of them were malnourished. The Daughters of Charity were also keen to educate mothers and women about hygiene and health issues and to provide a space for vocational training for young adults.
Once the funds were received by the Rosalie Projects, the sisters ordered the materials and began preparations on the ground before the rainy season arrived. They completed the financial requirements to install doors and windows, build a water tank, and purchase the dry goods needed to feed the children.
“By the second week of October, the three classrooms were ready to welcome the 100 children planned for the new school year. We have started our programme to develop their skills and the teachers have been able to follow a training course to accompany them in the best possible way.”
“We are also fighting against child malnutrition by offering the children a hearty ‘porridge’ and a snack every day. A cook has been recruited and we now welcome 150 children who come to have a meal in our premises every Friday.”
Emphasis was also placed on hygiene (dental, bodily), as the lack of water plunged families into unsanitary conditions, which in turn generated many diseases (especially skin diseases).
“When I visited the children at home, I discovered that dozens of them were living in tents, most of them without toilets, without kitchen…”
“Now, in the mornings, the children brush their teeth and wash their hands and face with soap before starting school, thanks to the hygiene kits we were able to provide. Health monitoring is provided by a sister nurse who regularly visits the home for the children and the local people.”
A training course for the mothers began in December in collaboration with a Spanish NGO to raise their awareness of all the essential questions on education, hygiene, protection against diseases, etc. A training certificate will be issued to the women to motivate them to persevere.
“We are already beginning to see a change in the children’s attitude to hygiene, to the rules of life in the classroom, to relationships with others, to communication and even a fairly rapid and remarkable development of learning which has surprised us a little. The children are happy to come, they are on time and no longer absent…”
Young people also benefit, as courses and other activities have been offered to them at the premises since December now that the hot season is over.
Thanks to you:
– 52 children are taken care of in the kindergarten
– 150 children from the region benefit from a meal
– 25 young people benefit from courses and activities
– 30 mothers attend awareness-raising workshops
Source: Projets Rosalie