Summer Camp Cultural Exchange
Long Island, NY
Inaugurated in 2021 BSEI initiated virtual school meetings connecting students at the Elementary and Middle Schools of the Niaga Peul/Lac Rose district of Senegal with their peers at Ivy League School, a private K-8 private school in Smithtown, NY. This Pen Pal Project proved to be an important source of motivation for the students. They made new friends across the Atlantic, shared interests and concerns, and opened up to and learned about each other’s cultures.
The success of the program led to an ambitious project expansion–students on both sides of the Atlantic wanted to meet each other in person. In 2022, BSEI sponsored five girls from Lac Rose for the two-week day camp experience and homestay.
For the 2022-2023 school year, the program moved to Bargny. And in the summer of 2023, BSEI Ivy League Day Camp welcomed three girls for the two-week day camp and homestay experience.
During their two-week stay, the students were hosted by families in the Ivy League community who opened up their homes to welcome the girls.
The objective of the Summer Camp experience is to foster a sense of international understanding and communication at a personal level. The students, both Senegalese and American, learned about one another’s culture and came to appreciate the accomplishments of people from various cultures, colors, and creeds. American values and traditions are incorporated into their daily routine, while the Ivy League students/campers are enriched by building a personal relationship with a family from a distant country. Reflecting on their experiences, host families, American students, and the Senegalese girls have all expressed how this program enriched their appreciation for people from other cultures and countries.
The program has also proved to be a source of motivation for the students. It has encouraged students in Senegal to focus on learning English in order to engage in the exchange of ideas with their counterparts in the States. With the understanding that the top students will be chosen to attend the camp experience, students focus on their English language studies hoping for the opportunity to meet their peers across the Atlantic in person.
Current Geographical Engagement
Niaga Peulh-Lac Rose: Ecol Elementaire Publique: Niaga Peulh-Lac Rose
- We are very happy to announce that 11 of the 13 girls (84%) at the CM2 level (5th grade) who participated in the BSEI’s tutoring program have moved on to middle school for the 2021-2022 school year after passing their end-of-the-year assessments. For the two years of the program passing rates for girls at the CM2 level have increased eight percent from 79% (using results of the preceding three years) to an average of 87% since beginning the tutoring program. We are continuing this very successful program for a third year.
- Starting in 2020, BSEI’s tutoring program has witnessed an eight percent increase in the overall passing rates for girls from 79% (2017-2019) to an average of 87% (2020 and 2021).
- January 2022 marks the beginning of the program’s third year.
- For the 2021-2022 school year BSEI expanded to 10 the number of girls its sponsors at the Collège d’Enseigmement Moyen Niaga Peulh-Lac Rose.
- In the Spring of 2021, BSEI inaugurated its first pen pal program between the schools in Lac Rose and the Ivy League School in Long Island, New York. This program provides opportunities for zoom meetings between students, staff, and faculty to share experiences.
- The first girl BSEI agreed to sponsor is now in her second year of middle school. Her mother first approached us in the summer of 2019, asking us to sponsor her daughter. After passing her CM2 exam with the CFEE diploma in 2020, she continued to middle school with BSEI’s support! This is what it’s all about!
- For 2021-2022, BSEI expanded the sponsorship program in Mbettite by adding four girls bringing the total to five at the middle school.
- Currently considering expanding the pen pal program to Mbettite by establishing a relationship with another school in the US.
In June 2022, the women of Thiende’en completed their Adult literacy program educating 45 women on basic literacy and child and maternal health. Additionally, the microcredit component allowed the participants in the program to establish small businesses including selling products such as peanuts, fish, and vegetables and second hand clothes. These small businesses have provided a level of independence and autonomy and are a source of pride for the women as they are able to contribute to their families and the village. The literacy component of the program allows the women to keep ‘the books’ and manage their businesses.
In June 2023, the women of Nérane Diarrére completed their Adult literacy program educating 45 women on basic literacy and child and maternal health. The microcredit component has allowed the participants in the program to establish small businesses including the production of soap and selling of bleach. As with their counterparts in Thiende’ne, these businesses encourage autonomy and are a source of pride for the women. The literacy component allows the women to manage their businesses.
In January 2024, the women of Thiallé are set to begin the second year of their Adult Women’s Literacy program. As in Thiende’ne and Nérane Diarrére, this program teaches essential literacy skills in the local language and provides information on maternal and child health. In addition to funding the second year of the program, BSEI will also provide microcredit for the participants to establish local income-generating endeavors.
Guinguinéo, région de Koalack
BSEI continues to sponsor five girls from the Paracel Elementary school in Guinguinéo. This brings the total to 19 girls that BSEI supports for the 2021-2022 school year.