"Even if there are some who don't respect outsiders in the community, it is our job to make them aware of their backward thinking by showing and teaching those values of respect and tolerance." —El Hadj Beye
Play for Peace Senegal began in 2014 and brings play, laughter, and hope to children throughout Western Africa. Those who live in the Dakar region experience extreme poverty, with more than half the population living below the poverty line. Many are not literate, and many of the children spend their days begging in the streets. Pollution and lead poisoning are great challenges for the country, and the efforts to fix it have been labeled as "ineffective." While the conditions in Senegal are troubling, the Play for Peace team continues to change the lives of and inspire children each day. There are two Play for Peace clubs with 50 more members in the Dakar region. And PFP Senegal mentor El Hadj Beye is committed to the children and the work that needs to be done in the community.
"Our community is welcoming of those from different backgrounds and places," said El Hadj. "Even if there are some who don't respect outsiders in the community, it is our job to make them aware of their backward thinking by showing and teaching those values of respect and tolerance." During a recent session, the children played games dealing with war and peace. They then discussed international issues. "The children are very well-informed on issues concerning war and terrorism. We spoke a lot about the situation in Libya," El Hadj shared.
"I am so proud of the work Play for Peace does. I see so much promise in the children that I get to work with," El Hadj said. He hopes to come to the United States one day to properly meet the Play for Peace team and learn even more than he has.