Health and nutritional support for the Educational and Sports Centre of the ALVES Association in Richard Toll

The city of Richard Toll, crossroad of highways and mixture of ethnic groups and cultures from all over Africa, is located on the banks of the River Senegal which forms a border with Mauritania. The Compagnie Sucriere Senegalaise (CSS) was established in Richard Toll more than 30 years ago. Its seasonal harvest of sugar cane causes a temporary exodus of workers from all the areas of Senegal and its neighbouring countries. The presence of these temporary workers, however, leads to a situation of serious social vulnerability due to the precarious and squalid conditions in which they live. Some workers even bring their families, this signifies that the vulnerability of the family also extends to the minors.

In 2006, the ALVES Association (Association de Lutte contre la Vulnerabilité de l'Enfance Sénégalaise) with the support of Football Club Barcelona established a programme of integral support for children who live in very precarious situations and are at risk of social exclusion. The programme, called XICS, has carried out the following interventions:

  • Integral attention for the children who come to the centre in after-school hours.
  • Early stimulation for minors aged 3 to 5 years and, in addition, training for their mothers in order to prevent or treat malnutrition.
  • Health and nutritional follow-up for children aged between 6 and 16 years, this includes de-parasite treatment, dressings and primary health care.
  • Support for children without resources who need hospitalisation, analysis and complementary tests which may be for malaria, pneumonia and others.
  • A nurse to attend the children during school hours 6 days a week.
  • Nutritional support for the 389 children in order to prevent or treat malnutrition.
  • Vaccination of all the children at the centre according to the Senegal EPI  calendar.
  • Essential medication and medical material for the centre's dispensary.

The Probitas Foundation collaborated with the centre in 2011 by providing medicine, equipping the dispensary with basic medical and surgical material, and installing a binocular optical microscope. It also donated a new weighing machine and equipment for the follow-up of the children's weight-height measurements. The nurse had more than 1,000 consultations in the year. Probitas also provided for other expenses such as extra analysis and hospitalisations.

With the Foundation's help more than 100 different pathologies have been diagnosed and treated, they range from parasitosis, malaria, trauma, infections malformations, allergies and skin infections. The optical microscope has permitted the diagnosis of a number of frequent illnesses and their rapid treatment. In addition, the sterilisation of equipment to treat wounds has resulted in a decrease in the number of infections from 23 to 0 in one year.

The programme installed at this centre in Richard Toll is totally integral. Thanks to it some 400 beneficiaries have been able to receive a complete, nutritional meal once a day; participate in educational and additional schooling activities; obtain medical follow-ups; have access to professional training and information technology courses; practice sport; and receive psycho-social support. The children's families have also benefitted from the programme through a women's association that manages the vegetable gardens, animals and communal dining area, thus bringing sustainability and self sufficiency to the XICS Centre.

In the Centre there are the following fulltime workers: the Director of the XICS programme, the President of ALVES, two assistant social workers, a nurse, three cooks, two security guards, two cleaners, and a number of teachers for varying subjects such as additional educational help, professional training, sport and information technology.