The Diapalante community eduction centre is a unique learning centre, especially here in Senegal. The students range from age 6 to the over 50s but what is amazing is that there is something for everyone here! The centre is open morning and afternoon 5 days a week (Saturday – Wednesday to allow members to come during the weekend when they are not working/ at school) and what has struck me is how the centre is always full – of people and of life. It is a very cohesive centre with adults and children of similar abilities in the given subject learning in the same lessons. We have a focus on the practicalities of English in english lessons – giving members the chance they often don’t get at school to practice speaking english, especially with native english speakers! During the lessons, often including Drama or games as well as more formal worksheets and writing, it is so lovely to see the members grow in confidence with their speaking in a foreign language.
The computer room is always full of people – both during structured IT lessons in using Word, Powerpoint, the internet etc and also during more free sessions to use for homework/research/using the learning resources. We have to limit the sessions to 45mins in peak times to let everyone have a go!
One of the most lovely things about the centre is how involved the members are in it running and upkeep. Older members take lessons and younger members are keep to help with tidying/general upkeep of the place – much pride is taken in the centre always being clean and presentable, even when we’ve had 30kids in an art session!
The members love the library and being able to take books out, not only to read but also to be able to show their friends that they have the books!