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Website: NGO Enfance et paix (Senegal)

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NGO: Enfance et paix

Author: Javier Acebal

Created in 2008 to, is just uploaded again after a year offline.
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A connected country

In the organization that helps Ndei to find a job, and other immigrants regardless of their origin, they have told her to adjust her curriculum to that of a domestic worker, who is the only job she could get if she is lucky.


Because even in that sector black Muslim women have handicaps. “In Spanish homes – says Ndei – they prefer Latin America women.” The person in charge of job offers in that organization agrees: “it is best to look like a woman with little education, few resources and gentle, someone who will not bring trouble.” Ndei adds that this is not all: “If you want to stay in the house and say that you do not eat ham, they look at you with a weird face and do not call back.”

So Ndei erased from her curriculum her university studies and professional experience as the secretary of a minister in Senegal. She left out the various languages she speaks and her knowledge of accountancy, and wrote: “Primary school. Trained in care for the elderly in the Red Cross.”

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(Español) Al ritmo del djembé

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(Español) Labores compartidas

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Women through the border

New neighbors, new faces, new stories: immigration is changing our cities. But rarely are we familiar with  the personal stories that lie behind it.

“Women Through the Border”  bridges that gap. The project includes a series of cultural activities that aim to bring the audience closer to the experience of a group of Senegalese women currently living in Spain. At the heart of the project is  a photo exhibit that traces the routes these women have followed  from in their home towns and cities in Senegal to the new homes they have made for themselves in Spain. Through an intimate series of portraits, the exhibit explores the relationship they maintain with those left behind and  the dreams that give them strength to carry on.

Over the course of the exhibit, special presentations – including cinema, live music and live storytelling – show the wealth of Senegalese culture that they women bring with them.

Photos of the exhibit in Granada.

Articles published by the project.

The exhibit (photos and text -in spanish-)


Luna Vives / organization, text, photography.

Javier Acebal / organization, photography, graphic and web design

Patricia García Arias / press relations

María Díaz Perera / illustration





  • International Guild of Visual Peacemakers, by Luna Vives: Women Through the Border (24/10/2009)
  • Discreto lector, por Juan Mata: Ellas que caminan a nuestro lado (25/11/2009)
  • Radio
  • La voz del Senegal, en Onda Maracena Radio. Entrevista por Emilio Morales | Web
  • Mujeres Viajeras, de Evolution FM. Entrevista por Pilar Tejera (11/03/09) | Blog
  • Levando Anclas, de Radio Euskadi. Entrevista por Roge Blasco (8/2/09, 17/7/09) | Blog


  • Canal Sur. Informativos 25/11/09
  • Localia. Informativos 25/11/09


Granada 2010/2014 @ the neurosciences institute Federico Olóriz, Granada. University of Granada.

Granada 23 Nov / 5 Dec, 2009. Place: Biblioteca de Andalucía, Granada, Spain. Dates: November 23 to December 5, 2009 Photo Exhibit: Javier Acebal and Luna Vives. Movie: Little Senegal by Rachid Bouchareb and Caravane des dix Mots (in collaboration with Alianza Francesa de Granada). Concert: Live Hispano-Senegalese music. Live Storytelling by Boni Ofogo.

Models of women

Despite the obstacles set by tradition between Senegalese women and the labor market, new models of femininity arise. Along with the traditional woman (young wife, mother of a large number of children and housewife) more and more professional women are to be seen. Young people with aspirations beyond their family house and with the support of their family.


Women education is a big challenge in the country: according to the United Nations Development Programme, in 2007 more than half the men (52.3%) could read, while only one third of women (33 %) was in the same situation.

The situation is particularly serious in rural areas of Senegal. In the cities, school enrollment rates of girls and young women are higher, and a small but growing number of them decides to continue in secondary education. That, of course, if the family supports this decision and can afford an education, because scholarships are scarce and do not often reach the beneficiaries, resulting in strikes and disruptions of classes that can last months.

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God is great

Insha’Allah. If there is an expression heard in the streets of Senegal is this: Insha’Allah, if God wills it. “I will go to Spain to work to help my family, Insha’Allah.” And in Spain: “I will return to Dakar to celebrate the tabaski (the feast of the lamb) with my family, Insha’Allah, I will go with my new boubou (dress) and buy a new pair of rams to share with my neighbors.”


And other expressions of everyday life: Alhamdulillah, praise be to God, for his blessings, for having slept well, because a relative has got a visa in Spain.Sometimes it is replaced by the equivalent in Wolof: Sante Yalla. How’s the family?: Gnu ngi ci jamm? Sante Yalla, well, thanks God. O Bismillah (literally, in the name of God, the most merciful, the compassionate) before eating to wish a good digestionto guests around a thiéboudienne. It is also often heard Waay Yalla baaxna: do not lose hope that everything will be OK, because God is great in his mercy.

They are daily demonstrations of the strength of Islam in Senegal, where 95% of the population is Muslim, a proportion that has been increasing at the expense of Catholics and Animists in the course of the twentieth century.

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(Español) Emigrantes

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Health problems

Mame works at a Senegalese restaurant in Madrid. She has been in Spain since the age of 16, and she is married to a Senegalese man from her hometown, and has an 8 year old son divided between two lands: that of his parents and that of himself. Like other women from Senegal, Mame has trouble reconciling her work and the demands of motherhood.


This is the dilemma: if she looks after her son Pape, she risks losing her job and residence permit; if she works, she must pay someone to look after Pape (which would cost her more than her monthly salary) or send him to Senegal during part of the year to have women of her family-in-law take care of him.

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Being a woman in Senegal

Senegalese society is a complex one in which there are more than ten different ethnic groups and at least three religions divided, in turn, into a large number of families or sects within Islam known as brotherhoods.


With the exception of the southern region of Casamance, home of the Jola, these ethnic and religious clashes have not been very relevant. In fact, it is noteworthy that in a country with an overwhelming Muslim majority (approximately 95%), the first President of the Republic after the independence of the country in 1960 was a Catholic from an ethnic minority: Leopold Sedar Senghor. read more

Women through the Border

The journey has been long and often complicated, but most of their problems, like ours, are everyday ones. One day they decided to leave behind everything they have known to begin an adventure that would take them to Spain.


Some came alone, seeking those euros that would enable them to pay their children’s education or support their parents, sometimes they came to finish their studies or followed their husbands. Some of our women left with a “See you soon”, but the trip had no date of return, while others who planned to stay in Spain have already decided to come back due to the enormous difficulty in getting a steady job given the current economic situation.

They are the invisible stories of immigration, those that are not usually shown on the news: women (and men) who left from the airport of Yoff and have only see the boats with immigrants on television. Immigrants who struggle every day to meet their expenses and keep going, with no one asking them who they are or where they come from. Stories, too, of their relationship with those they left behind…

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Lil Rawan

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