Tuesday, 07 February 2023 18:09

Building bridges and playing jigsaw puzzles.

Written by Fundacion


I arrived to the student’s residence of Por una Sonrisa en África in Mbour in January 2019. I had been looking for a while for a charity to support and a friend recommended them. I sent an email to Mario and he replied with a warm welcome into his lifetime project. I sent my cv and support letter and I was accepted to volunteer at the primary care centre in Mbour Sérère, close to the student’s residence. During that first January and the following one, I spent my mornings helping at the primary care centre. My afternoons were at the student’s residence of Por una Sonrisa en África, with the students, helping them with their English homework, but mainly playing UNO and hangman with them in English, of course!


One day, I took a puzzle from the shelf and started to make it on one of the tables of the study room. I would sit amongst the students making a puzzle, while they were doing their homework or preparing classes for the following day. Soon I realized that starting and finishing a jigsaw puzzle was to them an exceptional achievement. Even the brightest students thought that making a jigsaw puzzle was an extraordinary and genius phenomenon. They would not know how to start the puzzle, relate shapes and colours, pay attention to detail or have patience. However, they would continue to write and solve long mathematical equations on the blackboard. Por una Sonrisa en África has given these children of the Senegalese savanna the incredible opportunity of schooling with education always being their priority to reach primary, secondary and higher studies. Amongst their graduates they have doctors, nurses and teachers. But developing as a human being not only involves academical work, learning to skilfully play is a vital part of growing. Those skills will be the necessary tools to become an adult able to perform the daily chores of our future jobs and lives.


This January 2023 I returned to Mbour after three years of the covid pandemic and lots of work. It has only been 10 days of chats about health, brainstorming and mainly shared moments. I arrived with a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle in my rucksack. I am leaving with it finished on one of the tables of the study room. We finished it in seven days. And I say ‘we’, because the younger students helped with patience and attention to detail. Clearly, something has changed from that first puzzle in 2019.


Often my friends ask me about what is it that I exactly do in Senegal. I often reply that I come to build bridges. Thank you to Por una Sonrisa en África for offering me the opportunity of building bridges towards a fairer world. An African proverb says that the footprints of those walking together never get erased. Today I am going back to London with the warmth of the Senegalese teranga under my skin.


Dr María Gómez Rodriguez,

General Practitioner

Senegal, January 2023


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Wednesday, 23 November 2022 19:53

New technologies?

Written by Fundacion


During the year that is about to end, our work has continued in the line that we "drew" in our beginnings (2002). Education and formation.


Over the years, we have been seeing the evolution of our town Mbackombel.


When we arrived, 94% of the residents were illiterate and could only understand you if you spoke Serer, their dialect.


Currently 75% know how to write, speak French and a few... a lot more things.


We wanted to get to this point. Currently we can be proud to have among our first students, nurses, midwives, university students (doctor, biologist, environmentalist, English philologist, management secretary and so on, many more).


But, thanks to a friend and volunteer, José Mª Catot, we have decided to go further... to introduce a group of selected students to the field of new technologies (ICT).


To reach this level, we have managed to get many highly qualified people to volunteer, coming to the "field" and organizing workshops on different specialties (programming, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, etc.).


We want to thank: those who have collaborated this year: Isabel Águeda Serrano, Ana Isabel Alegre López, Juan Manuel Pérez Villar, Tania Correas González, Clara Gregori Pla, Xavi Vergés, Jordi Bonet and Albert Balbi and welcome the who have already signed up for 2023 (Alicia Alonso, Toni Juanico, Charo Carrió Zubeldia, Jordi Sorribes i Burgués, Alicia Alonso, Alfonso Bosch, Alejandra Montesino, Clara Gifra, Aldo Rovira and Lucía Pursals).


We are making progress reach our students!




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Wednesday, 31 August 2022 15:36


Written by Fundacion


In mid - 2008, during one of our regular visits in our health post, we met a woman with a son who is 8 years old waiting for a medical consultation.

Malick, is the name of the child, a dwarf (achondroplasia). When we asked her mother if she took him to school, she thought that we were laughed at her.

His family, threatened to be expulsed, because did not have the means and we proposed that she let us take him to Mbackombel (a village) so that he could study in our school and live with the village’s children. He always has good marks at school.

At a later date, when he finished (Malick) his primary studies, we decide to take him to our boarding school in Mbour. There, he also has good marks at the secondary school.

Lastly, he followed training in an academy as an electrician and panel solar technician after two years of study.

He was the best student of his class and now he is ready and want to financially help his family.

These little stories push us to continue the project we have started since 2002 in the educational et social domain.

We would like to thank her sponsor who has financed a professional training.


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Thursday, 30 June 2022 19:01


Written by Fundacion


A course that has ended and…. with this, it's been 20 since we started this project, with the construction of the Mbackombel school.

470 primary school students and 160 kindergarten students say goodbye to the 2021-2022 academic year, with the usual awards ceremony, which is attended by parents and families.

The Mbackombel School remains at the forefront among rural schools (public and private) in the area for its level and facilities.

We have to point out that three of the teachers are former students of the school, which shows that our project is working.

Soon we will publish a list of students who are being trained or have been trained at the university and/or academies.

We are achieving these 20 years of continuity in our project thanks to the SPONSORS, PARTNERS, DONORS, PRIVATE ENTITIES and VOLUNTEERS, who year after year support us and believe in our project.


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Saturday, 20 November 2021 00:55

Course 2021-2022

Written by Fundacion


One more year and our Mbackombel School, full as always. 10 primary classrooms (470 students) plus 6 nursery classrooms (160 students) full of children. Three former students, Djibril Diouf, Elisabeth Sarr and Pascaline Ndour, are already part of the teaching staff.

We remember that in our beginnings (2002-2003 academic year), we had 32 students!!! Asun, accompanied by the school principal, had to go house to house and town by town in order to convince them to let their children go to school.

We believe that parents are being trained to accept that the future is in education.

Currently, more than 50% are girls, something unthinkable years ago.

And the story goes on ... and on, thanks to the sponsors and collaborators. THANK YOU

Can you help us to grow?

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