Over the course of the next few days, 160 young Haitians (85 boys and 75 girls) will land in Dakar, their flights paid for by the Senegalese government. A few days after the earthquake that devastated Haiti and killed 200 thousand people, the Senegalese president said: “It hurts to see the African diaspora continuously struck by natural disasters.”
Senegal will house 160 Haitian youngsters. The president, Abdoulaye Wade, is offering them a university programme as well. The idea is to provide them with specialized, professional training to give them the skills and expertise needed to stimulate the economic, social and cultural recovery of Haiti. The plans were revealed by the minister for Humanitarian and International Affairs, Mamodou Lamine Ba, during a press conference held in Dakar.
A few days after the earthquake that devastated Haiti and killed 200 thousand people, the Senegalese president said: “It hurts to see the African diaspora continuously struck by natural disasters. We have to find a lasting solution. We could think of moving these people to Africa”. His statement was explained a few hours later by the president’s spokesperson, Mamadou Bamba Ndiaye: “We want to offer Haitians a home in Senegal. We are willing to give them a house and some land, if they are willing”.
Lamine Ba himself oversaw the selection of the young homeless Haitians, who were chosen according to academic merits. A welcome ceremony will be held on October 10 at the African Renaissance Monument, the 49 metre tall bronze statue designed by the Senegalese sculptor Pierre Goudiaby that was inaugurated last April and which stands not far from the capital city. President Wade will attend the ceremony together with Haitian representatives of state.
The news of the Senegalese aid comes as a ray of light amidst the clouds that have covered Haiti for months. President Wade’s initiative is the first of its kind in Africa although not the only help provided by African nations to their Haitian “brothers”. Other aid has included mainly monetary donations – from Rwanda, Liberia, Namibia, Botswana and Kenya. South Africa and Nigeria, on the other hand, sent humanitarian aid, medical infrastructure and volunteers to the island.
By Fabio Pipinato – Afronline
This article was first published in Italian by Unimondo.org
Photo: Minister Mamodou Lamine Ba in Haiti with an official delegation