"Cité Baraka- from a slum to a new district" in Senegal

It all started about two years ago, when UNESCO Special Ambassador Dr Ute Ohoven decided to finally resolve the problems of the nearly 1.600 slum dwellers of Baraka, a shantytown in the very middle of the capital Dakar.

Already since about 10 years the then UNESCO Foundation- Education for Children in Need supported the slum of Baraka- in cooperation with HOPE’87-Senegal- with financing of income generating activities and the construction of a primary school.

The latter, establishing a school and handing it over to the Ministry of Education, was also a means of protecting the people of Baraka, who have no legal right of residence from forced eviction… and indeed, several times in past years the bulldozers were already on stand-by and were withdrawn only because Ms Ohoven appealed directly to the State President to intervene… and now a double-storey primary school is in full swing since several years and provides education for 300 children…

However, the main problem of the slum dwellers remained the same: living in shanty dwellings, without running water, without sewerage, without medical care, without professional training and with scarce income generating activities… until UNESCO Special Ambassador Dr Ohoven found a congenial partner in the person of Mr Samih Sawiris, CEO of the worldwide ORASCOM group. Mr Sawiris  pledged to rebuild the whole slum areas with 210 apartments, one for each family, and according to the blueprints awarded by an international jury of architects composed and led by the Association of German Architects (“Bund Deutscher Architekten”)  and the Peter Behrens School of Architecture in Düsseldorf. It took another year to fine-tune the blueprints and to get all the necessary authorisations by the Senegalese Government. It was of great importance that the President of the Republic of Senegal, H.E. Macky Sall, himself declared the project of public interest and supports it wholeheartedly in cooperation with the Minister of Habitat, Diéne Farba Sarr.

After the rainy season, in October 2017, the construction works will start and the slum dwellers of Baraka cannot wait for this very moment, when for the first time in their lives they will welcome the bulldozers!

In the meantime, HOPE’87-Senegal, with financing of the YOU Foundation , Mr Sawiris and other donors, started to implement a series of projects… a sensitisation campaign was run to inform and to raise awareness of the inhabitants of the slum areas regarding the way of life that will change, e.g.  once they will move from their shacks to apartments on the first or second floor… from an open fire in the tiny courtyards to a gas stove in a real kitchen…

A training program was recently started for all 215 craftsmen, semi-skilled workers and service providers of Baraka to enhance their capacities in strategic management and marketing and to make them fit to stabilise or to enlarge their economic activities in the newly constructed “Cité Baraka” (District Baraka)… a small IT Center is already working in a temporary building… and the newly established hairdresser and beauty parlour is making good money…

And if you want to know more about the project: please, have a look at the weekly blog available in French and English at https://barakadakar.wordpress.com