This year’s YOWLA AGM will be held on Saturday 15 October starting at 3.30pm, at Tescos Askham Bar Community Room (first floor).  As well as hearing about the Trustees’ work over the last year from our Chairperson, Peter Drury, this will be an opportunity to hear updates from some of those organisations who have, or have recently had, active links with overseas organisation.


Running for Life – update from Senegal

After fourteen years of fundraising, Teba Diatta has seen the completion of a community centre and public library in her father’s community in Oussouye, SW Senegal. The vision started when she spent four months in a gap year getting to know her roots and feel a stronger sense of her African identity. She helped with the teaching of English in the secondary school where the classes were overcrowded with 60 pupils. When she came home the teachers asked whether she could help raise funds for extra classrooms. However, the Senegal Government subsequently planned the building of a Lycée for pupils preparing for their baccalauréat (16 – 19 years). Hence a change of plan and Teba envisaged a library and a community centre.

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 In 2003 Teba started fundraising by running from York Minster to Westminster over 3 weeks in an exceptionally hot August! Supported by Mum driving a landrover, kindly lent by Landrover UK, she raised £11,000. Fundraising continued by selling Senegalese crafts at various summer fairs. She was also sponsored by pupils of York schools.

The community centre was completed first and has proved an asset to the community, being used for meetings, events and more recently developed a restaurant employing three people.

The library has been in use for the past year but had an official event to which Teba was invited in February 2016 when a Spanish author presented her book of Jola traditional stories. The library was packed with children and local officials. Teba was asked to give a speech in French giving the background to how the funds had been raised, starting with her marathon run. The Mayor addressed the audience, encouraging pupils to make good use of the library which is now run by three local people who have received some training. Teachers and pupils can pay a nominal fee to join the library thus enabling them to take books home.

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 Teba would like to thank YOWLA for their support over the years as well as all those in York who have sponsored her and supported by purchasing the crafts she has brought back from Senegal.