All posts by blog editor

Diapalante Bookclub Launch

New year, new lockdown… new #Diapalantebookclub !We found ourselves with a bit of time on our hands and thought it would be great to kick off 2021 by getting acquainted with some different authors from across Africa. Sign up to take part here:

God’s Bits of Wood by Ousmane Sembene

We’ll be starting with a Senegalese classic, God’s Bits of Wood by Ousmane Sembene on 7th March 2021. Join our online chat to discuss the book on Sunday 7th March at 3pm:Join Zoom Meeting:…Meeting ID: 764 002 0682
Passcode: L6ZzLcTo buy the book and support independent booksellers try the following links:…/Semb…/Gods-Bits-of-Wood/1015233…/god-s-bits-of-wood/9780435909598

Creating Books Children Will Love.

During this summer of coronavirus lockdown there has been a very active partnership between volunteers in the UK and our teenage Young Leaders in Senegal. They have all been working to address the lack of reading books for children in Senegal. The Centre’s library works hard to provide African and Senegalese storybooks but the majority of books available in Senegal are about life in the West and don’t relate to the children’s own experiences.

Initially the Young Leaders in Senegal translated online books published on the African Storybooks website. Encouraged by a few sample storybooks from the UK the Young Leaders gained confidence. It wasn’t long before the project took shape and they were writing stories of Senegalese life while volunteeers in the UK have been busy illustrating them. The back and forth between the UK and Senegal of stories and photos is producing some lovely books and soon they will be online and in the Centre’s library when the Centre opens after the rainy season. Click here to read a book.

A huge thank you to everyone who dedicated their coronavirus lockdown to this project, And especially to those UK illustrators trying to finish their illustrations around their day jobs. We appreciate all this work so much and so will the lucky children who will read and enjoy the books.

Coronavirus – Lockdown

Mid March brought life in Senegal and at The Diapalante Community Education Centre to a sudden halt! The schools are closed, travel between regions is stopped and within regions is restricted. There is a strict curfew, no-one is allowed out at night.

Tom and Nathan, the Project Trust volunteers decided to stay and see out the virus in Senegal but the next day were recalled to the UK as Project Trust recalled all of its volunteers worldwide! The Centre’s members appreciated their solidarity, but perhaps it was wise that they caught one of the last planes to leave as the lockdown hit. It was a long journey home via Kenya! You are missed and thanked for your contribution to the Centre.

So far, there have been more cases in the UK than in Senegal but people are waiting in trepidation dreading the effect the virus may have when it meets with African poverty.

The Container

A 40 foot shipping container arrived here from Ashwell last month! This was the result of a lot of hard work from some very generous people who volunteered their time to help hand pack each of the donated resources into the container. Unfortunately some chairs had to remain behind as even a 40 foot container couldn’t hold everything that had congregated in the garden of Kirby Manor.

  • 20th Sep. A 40 foot container lorry parked up in Kirby Manor garden at 9.15. After 3 hours we had half filled it.

The packing at Kirby Manor took around 6 hours, however the unpacking at Diapalante, Kaolack took little less than 2 hours thanks to the overwhelming number of volunteers who showed up to help unload and lift the resources into the centre.

Chairs were the first to come when the doors were opened, followed by tables, computers, whiteboards, crafts materials, cabinets of various sizes, more chairs and many more resources the centre and its members are very thankful for.

For a time the Centre was very cluttered and one could hardly move about a room without thinking that somehow they had stumbled into an obstacle course, but now the clutter has been organised and the centre is once again in full swing enjoying and taking advantage of what it now has. Special thanks to anyone who was able to participate in donating goods or helping the container make its way to Senegal.

  • Weeks later our container arrived in Kaolack.