We are building a Library-Learning Center in Lambaye, Senegal called the Lambaye Learning Center.
*Renderings Courtesy of BKSK Architects.
Students for Senegal was started in 2009 with a simple and elegant purpose: to extend the gift of education to the people of Senegal and foster cross-cultural exchange to enrich both the Senegalese and American community members whose lives we touch. While in the years since our organization was founded we have grown exponentially, in both fundraising and support each year, our fundamental purpose remains pure, true and unaltered to our original one. We believe the key to economic and social success starts with a great education, and that that education must begin at the youngest age possible. With the Lambaye Learning Center we accomplish our goal of extending educational opportunities and through the amazing experiences of our semiannual Senegal trip as well as our numerous community outreach efforts here at home, we are exposing hundreds, if not thousands to two distinct, yet linked cultures.
The Lambaye Learning Center represents and enormous investment of both time and resources on behalf of the students and volunteers of Students for Senegal as well as an equally large investment by the wonderful team at BKSK. This is a culmination of more than four years of hard work, but at the same time, while it is an end in and of itself, the Lambaye Learning Center also represents a new beginning for Students for Senegal and for the people of Lambaye. We have absolutely no intentions of stopping, slowing down, or even missing just one beat after this Learning Center is constructed and we intend to use it as both a starting point for future projects as well as an important learning experience for us and the people of Lambaye. This project is and will remain run almost entirely by high school volunteer students and the construction as well as the numerous, complicated and intricate steps to achieve it give these students priceless experience that they can use on later projects with us and for the rest of their lives. The final and most important thing we take from this is the hope that it gives the children in Lambaye. By constructing this Learning Center, the children in Senegal know that there are people more than “50,000 hands away” that care and are looking out for them. This is why it is so important to us that students run this project, because if the students in Mamaroneck can get together and really show how to do something great, it gives their peers in Lambaye a genuine example of what we all are, and what they are, are capable of.
We need to make sure that this Learning Center is sustainable and useful to as many people as possible and we are not foolish enough to believe that we know what it is that they truly need. For this reason, collaboration between the team in the U.S. and Senegal is absolutely essential. We need to, by working together, set priorities and goals and then have extended conversations and communications about how to accomplish them. This is a team effort and the BKSK team, the Senegalese Architecture team, the Lambaye Villagers team, and the Students for Senegal team, must all work together to accomplish our singular shared goal. It will be difficult, but also a lot of fun and amazingly rewarding too... and we’re all ready to go Hands In.