Service Learning in Santhiou Mame Gor, Senegal

An exploratory trip in the summer of 2011 marked the beginning of a 3 year commitment between Lick-Wilmerding, Drew School and the village of Santhiou Mame Gor. Like our school’s 3-year interaction with the village of Keur Sadaro just a few summers before, the goal is to utilize our Lick students' technical skills to do something meaningful for a remote rural village. The experience, however, is not unidirectional; each student is paired with a family, with which they build a surprisingly deep relationship. The interaction is deep and both parties come out with a changed perspective toward many aspects of life and globalization.

At the request of Santhiou Mam Gor, then main project is a student designed 2-room school building collaboratively built with the village. Together we moved bricks, mixed mortar, attached sheet metal roofing, cut rebar, finished desks, painted and put a variety of hands on skills to work along side the people of the village.  The result has allowed young children, who might otherwise not have access to any school, to engage in a basic human right we sometimes take for granted: Education.  This project is still in progress and may last into the summer of 2015.

For day to day experiences, visit the ongoing student blog here:


YEAR 1 (2012): 

  • School designed in cooperation with the school principle Moustapha and the LWHS Architecture program.
  • Two room school structure with bathrooms built
  • Clinic repainted
  • 20+ desks built (student designed)
  • Teacher's desk built
  • Village sign repainted
  • Patients seen at clinic
  • Solar lights delivered

YEAR 2 (2013): 

  • School courtyard roof installed
  • School trees and living fence installed
  • School mural designed and painted
  • 2nd room of desks built and painted
  • Patients seen at clinic
  • Girls soccer clinics offered
  • Art workshops offered to younger children
  • Solar lights delivered

YEAR 3 (2014): 

  • Clinic roof replaced
  • School perimeter fence installed
  • School garden created
  • Playground constructed
  • Detailed world map designed and painted at the school (in conjunction with BATTI )
  • We Care Solar suitcases installed (2 in clinics, 1 at the school)
  • Patients seen at clinic
  • Art and Science classes taught (in conjunction with BATTI )

Gratitude to the adults that have organized this project and/or helped to made it happen: Jacques Cusin, Katarina Cusin, Youssou Fall, Daouda Camara, Kate Boyd, Anton Krukowski, Carrie Maslow, Warren Long, Randy Barnett, Mary Alice Cornog, Sandra Ramirez, Sam Cuddeback and Eric Temple.  Thank you to Goranka Poljak-Hoy for facilitating the LWHS architectural collaboration.

Interested in learning Wolof?  Download my cheat sheet!

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