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Fallou Diop’s view of Diapalante?

Here at Diapalante, we try to teach across all the subjects, often covering different ones at the same time. As part of our theme of citizenship, some of the members had the opportunity to improve both their English and their IT skills by responding to the question, ‘Why was the Diapalante Centre created?’. Here is the response from Fallou Diop, aged 15;

Diapalante is a national educational centre where there are lots of students. At the same time, it allows us to do lots of things like: maths lessons, English lessons and French lessons.

  • I come nearly every day to Diapalante sometimes when I have difficult work, I come here to search the answers, I am not the only person who does this.
  • The reason why Diapalante was created is: Diapalante is an educational association which is in England. Diapalante was created to help the children with their educational system and also with their behaviour.
  • We must all like Diapalante because it is it which helps us to do all our work at school. Me personally I like Diapalante because it’s thanks to it that I have improved well.
  • For me, we must always help Tata Corran and Tonton P because it’s thanks to them that we have improved well.
  • In my future, I would like to help Diapalante to be more famous and more educational.

Ramadan at Diapalante Centre

Here in Senegal, we are in the middle of the month-long celebration of Ramadan. This means that for the next month, all Muslims who are physically able will be neither eating nor drinking between 5am and 7pm. This includes Master P and a large majority of the members at Diapalante, and I have been fasting along with them most days! For me, it has been both an amazing opportunity to better understand Islam and a great way to feel close to the community. However, not eating or drinking at all during the day obviously has several consequences for the centre!

First of all, we have changed our opening hours. Like before, we still open at 11am. However, as nobody will be cooking/eating lunch, we no longer close for lunch time. Instead, we have an hour’s rest at 2pm, when no lessons are taught, but the centre is still open. We also close a lot earlier, at roughly 5pm, to let people get home in time to break the fast at 7! As well as practical reasons, the reduction in hours has another advantage; during Ramadan, everyone is (quite rightly) a lot more tired than before. Fasting all day can increase fatigue and decrease concentration in both pupils and teachers, and lots of our older students are also doing exams at school! This means that the members, although still keen to learn, are often very exhausted. To distract them from their hunger, we often play some simple and fun games, like Ludo and maths colouring in during the quieter periods!

Some members enjoying football-themed Ludo during a break!

Maths colouring-in themed around the upcoming Football World Cup.

 

Abdou’s English Lesson

Here at Diapalante, we teach a range of subjects, often covering different ones at the same time. As part of our theme of citizenship, some of the members had the opportunity to improve both their English and their IT skills by responding to the question, ‘Why was Diapalante Centre created?’. Here is the response of  Abdou Seck, aged 14;

Diapalante Centre was created in 2010 to teach adults and children who have a problem with understanding or something else. It was created to better help the students who have a weakness in a subject like:

  • French
  • Maths
  • English

What do you do here at Diapalante?

I came to Diapalante when I was in CM2 (?). I had a problem with understanding in English but since I joined Diapalante I have mastered English as if it was my official language. I thank you.

Why do you like Diapalante?

I like Diapalante because people study something which they can use in the future, and it will be able to serve us.

What can we do to help Diapalante?

We must:

  • Do everything that they ask us to do.
  • Participate in lessons.
  • Keep the centre clean.
  • Not yell in the centre.
  • Clean the toilets.
  • Respect Master P and Corran but also the other members.

What Abdou didn’t say!

Abdou is a member of the team who fundraise for Diapalante by sewing items for sale in our online shop.

 

 

 

 

 

Abdou is also a member of the computer crew who maintain the Centre’s computer network.

Respect

Recently at Diapalante, we have been working with members of all ages on the subject of ‘Respect’. This included discussions on what exactly is respect, different types of respect, and how everyone can respect Diapalante Centre, the staff, and the other members! With some of the younger members, this culminated in a debate on what to do if someone disrespects another member. For older members, their work on respect combined with an IT lesson, and they learned how to use Microsoft Word to write a piece on somebody they respect.

A variety of posters on respect.

Helping a beginner with Microsoft Word.

‘How should you react if a pupil disrespects another?’

A Crafty Bit of Maths!

At the Diapalante Community Education Centre the younger members enthusiastically set about making hexaflexagons quite unaware that, as well as a fun craft puzzle, they were doing a maths activity. It was a rewarding exercise, the hexaflexagons got everbody asking questions and trying to work out the answers with their friends.

A hexaflexagon

The first challenge was to follow the instructions to glue and fold the paper template to get from the row of triangles to the hexaflexagon. Then we had to work out how to flex the hexaflexagon to reveal its hidden surfaces. The flexing bit was easiest for those who were accurate in cutting, folding and gluing. But, with perseverance, we all got to a shape which flexed.

  • The hexaflexagon template.

Some maths was introduced by the session leaders, and some by the children:
What is this six sided shape called?
A regular hexagon is made up of how many equilateral triangles?
How many colours of triangles did we start with?
Why can’t we see them all now?
Where are the other colours hiding?

If you have never tried this, have a go. Hexaflexagon template.

Balloon Power!

After being shown a YouTube video, our youngsters were challenged to create a balloon powered racing car. With a prize for the best decorated and a prize for the car which travelled furthest they set to work with a will and were successful in creating a whole range of stylish working cars.

  • Youngsters make and decorate balloon powered cars.

 

Visits Visits Visits

February was a month of visitors here at Diapalante. Polly’s parents were the first, arriving at the end of January. Shona, Polly’s mum, spent a productive Saturday morning at the centre, using her skills as a fashion designer to help fix one of the members sewing machines. She also tested her times tables with some of the younger members, and we’re not sure who enjoyed the competition more!

The next week, Liz and Ian, Diapalante trustees, arrived for their annual month-long visit, and were welcomed back into the centre with open arms. They got straight to work, applying their expertise to everything from repairing computers to fixing broken doors and testing out 70-year-old sewing machines! Liz has also been working with one of the members, Mor Talla, teaching him about the setup and upkeep of our network of almost 20 computers. Mor Talla is keen to become a computer specialist, and so this training will give him an opportunity to develop his skills and knowledge (as well as giving Diapalante Centre a resident computer technician!). Liz and Ian have also had the chance to help out in a more hands on way; they have participated in multiple English lessons, using their skills as native English speakers to lend a helping hand to any member that wanted it. They have also been indispensible in demonstrating this months theme of ‘art and culture’, introducing the members to such quintesentially British things as loose-leaf breakfast tea and accordian music!

Project Trust, who place the two gap year volunteers at the Centre, visit all the projects they partner once a year. Their Africa desk officer, Niall, was the next visitor, and is pictured here with Corran

The final visitors in February were Corran’s family. Her parents and brother spent several days at the centre, getting to know the members and helping out. David, Corran’s father, used his skills as a maths teacher to help various members of all ages with their maths work. They all also helped out in the English lessons, giving more members the opportunity to practice their language with a native speaker. The whole family had their fortunes told as part of an English lesson, below is Corran’s turn.

On the family’s final day in the centre, we decided to impart a very important part of Scottish culture onto the members; ceilidh dancing. After a warm-up game of musical chairs, with Ian on his accordian, we started to teach some of the more simple dances. Although some members started off quite shy, eventually everyone got very involved, and had loads of fun. And then the roles switched, and a local dance teacher tried to teach us Senegalese dancing. It was considerably less successful than the first round, but everyone had lots of fun, and it was a brilliant send-off for Corran’s family.

Wacky Weaving

Local craftsmen in Sénégal often use weaving to create their wares which they then sell in artisinal villages. Inspired by this, Diapalante explored weaving and complementary colours in a maker-day lesson.

To start off with, each person chose a square sheet to act as the base colour. We folded this in half and cut vertical slits in it. Next we flattened out the paper and cut up colourful strips to begin weaving. The every other strip started on one side of the base paper and the alternate on the other side. This was important because it made the weave tighter so it wouldn’t fall out.

The end result was impressive despite being relatively simple to create. We concluded that using the complementary colours worked but was not always neccessary to create an interesting final outcome.

Opportunities Overseas

One of the things Diapalante prides itself on most is its accessibilty to people from all walks of life. For most young adults, writing an application can be a daunting task. It can be the make or break for getting into university or applying for a job. Several members have been given the significant opportunity to live overseas.

For us Project Trust Volunteers, we are on the same page, having written a similar application nearly 2 years ago now. We were able to share our knowledge with the members who came searching for help.

Sadibou came to the centre hoping to find someone who would be able to help with his interview with the American Embassy in Dakar. And to the right place he came! A key member ofthe Kaolack community, he organises all the main Hip-Hop and dance events that happen in the city. Sadibou had made his initial application to do a Leadership Program to do with culture in AMerica. His dream was to go to America and create links with Kaolack in order to promote young people’s opportunities in the Arts sphere. He came in every day for a week in the hope of improving his interview skills and to fine tune his responses in accordance with the questions.

Mor Talla is a conscientious member at Diapalante who is often helping out organising events and helping the centre run smoothly. With the help of Corran and Polly, he wrote his application to the US Embassy for the Pan African Youth Leadership Program. This opportunity enables him to live in America for 3 weeks. He will be able to share Senegalese culture as well as absorb some American culture too. Only just last week he passed the first round, and had an Skype interview with the US Embassy. He said he thought the iterview was successful and that the questions were similar to that on his application.

The team at Diapalante all have their fingers and toes and eyes crossed hoping that both Sadibou and Mor Talla are granted these fantastic opportunities – GOOD LUCK BOYS!