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SENEGAL: Migrants return home, find success through project

Salesian VIS UNO project is giving migrants a chance to start a business and have financial success back in their home countries

SENEGAL

(MissionNewswire) Salesian International Volunteering for Development’s (VIS) UNO project, “A New Opportunity,” is giving migrants a chance to start a business and have financial success back in their home countries. Salesians report that Senegal has 105,937 people living in Italy. Among them, 39.9 percent are inactive or unemployed.

Elhadi Ndiaye, a Senegalese worker and father, is one of the people who have benefited from this project. He is a father of six and has spent 19 years as a migrant in Italy where he worked in a leather and hide processing factory and then later as a sales person of costume jewelry and footwear.

When his residence permit expired and he could not guarantee that his self-employment business license would be renewed, Ndiaye became an undocumented migrant and was no longer able to meet his and his family’s needs, who were back in Senegal. The UNO project allowed him to return to Senegal permanently and develop his own business.

Ndiaye explained, “As soon as I arrived, through the UNO project, I had a grant to start a sheep breeding and fattening project in Gossas. I bought sheep at low prices and then resell them at a higher price once they have reached a good fattening condition. In addition, during the wintering period, the profits from sheep farming allowed me to cultivate a two-hectare land in my village to develop food crops. Currently, these breeding and cultivation activities have allowed me to successfully reintegrate into my community, abandon the migration, and take care of my family and the education of my children.”

Research in Senegal has shown that nearly 40 percent of youth leaving the country are doing so in search of better educational opportunities. With that knowledge, Salesian project activities are now being targeted to provide scholarships and educational initiatives to help youth gain employment in their communities. Other initiatives are targeted toward adults in the hopes to provide more employment and business opportunities in Senegal so that they can return home.

Located on the west coast of Africa, Senegal has nearly half its population living in poverty. Crop failures due to extreme weather have impacted the economy, and a recent ban on street beggars has taken the only source of income away from many families. A report by the Chronic Poverty Research Center found that not only are 60 percent of households labeled “poor or vulnerable” but there is a possibility that the poverty will be passed on to the next generation. A sign of hope in the country is the steadily increasing percentage of children enrolled in primary school, which according to the World Bank has reached 86 percent.

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Sources:

ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)

ANS – Senegal – Guaranteeing “A New Opportunity” and development projects at home: VIS commitment

Salesian Missions – Senegal

World Bank – Senegal