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Dakar, Senegal 2001

TEACHING A TRADE AND MORE


A young woman learns a trade by making a dress like the one she is wearing. She is one of 27 women enrolled in a special program at a community center in a poor neighborhood of Dakar, Senegal. The course teaches a livelihood that can earn her a living. The spread of HIV adds a new urgency to such programs. All the students are unwed mothers and some test positive for the AIDS virus.

We saw that young people, the group at greatest risk from HIV, did not come to us so we had to go to them, says Abdoul Cisse, coordinator of the agency offering the sewing class. The group runs a cyber café next door and uses a mobile clinic to take health information and medical care out into Dakars shantytowns. Volunteer community educators trained at the center reach and teach thousands of young women each year. An LWR partner organization in Senegal helps with training and materials. This kind of focused, grassroots actions is helping to stop the spread of the AIDS virus in Senegal.

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