Senegalese Government

Occupying old barracks of the French Army in Goree Island, Mariama Bâ Boarding School is not only the last female boarding school in Senegal but it is also a historical center for educating the best and brightest of Senegal’s girls.

According to Nettali a local online newspaper, Mariama Ba students invariably score 90% to100% in the BFEM (examinations taken 3 years before the BAC) as well as the BAC itself. Such excellence made the reputation of the Boarding School, results that continue to be upheld in spite of the decay and deterioration in the buildings.

Conditions in the Boarding School could hardly be more austere for the students. From ripped mattresses, rusty, ill-equipped toilets and bathrooms to crumbling ceilings and rotting kitchens, Senegal’s best and brightest continue to be severely neglected and underserved.

Mariama Ba will always be an inspiring figure for African women. She fought the terrible discrimination and injustices that women suffered under the name of tradition. She illustrated how many of our traditions and customs are harmful to the rights of women and urgently need to be revised and modified. Naming the school after a champion of women’s rights who recognized education was the key to success is symbolic of the power of educating women. Some of the country’s best and brightest young women are gaining valuable skills here - skills that empower them to make an impact on their nation.

This is one of the reasons The African Women’s Millennium Initiative on Poverty and Human Rights (AWOMI), chose Mariama Ba Boarding School to hold it’s 2nd Young Women’s Leadership and Knowledge Institute (YOWLI) in June-July 2008.The participants can trace the history of globalization and capital accumulation from the slave trade, through the colonial to the neo-colonial state where SAPs, HIPC/PRPS and MDGS have been implemented, right on the island. But the Senegalese Ministry of Education announced the delocalization of the institution to Diourbel and admit 3000 students.

AWOMI is partnering with the alumni of the Boarding School (Amemba) to resist the government’s decision to move the school to Diourbel and to preserve both the quality of the education and the facilities of the institution. AWOMI is supporting Amemba’s “Don’t Touch My School” campaign and collectively calling out to all the alumni abroad and in Senegal, other women’s associations and individuals interested in social justice to protest the closing of this important establishment.

Nous, soussignes, appelons le Gouvernement du Senegal a revenir sur sa decision de raser l'Ecole Mariama Ba de l'Ile de Goree ou ont ete formees des generations d'eleves parmi les plus meritantes du Senegal pour y permettre eventuellement la construction d'un hotel 5 etoiles par la multinationale Dubai World, decision qui entre en conflit avec le statut de site protege par l'UNESCO et de site sacre pour la memoire collective africaine en souvenir des millions d'Africains transportes de force par les marchands d'esclaves vers les Ameriques et les Caraibes.

We the undersigned, call on the Senegalese Government to come back on their decision to eliminate the Mariama Ba Boarding School in the Goree Island where generations of the most briliant students in Senegal were permitted receive top notch education. The decision to eliminate the school and possibly build a five star hotel financed by Dubai World Enterprise comes in conflict with UNESCO's bill to protect the site due to its historical background and the respect due the millions of africans forcefully taken to later work as slaves in the Americas, Europe, and Caribbean Islands.

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The Save Mariama Ba School petition to Senegalese Government was written by Awomi and is in the category Education at GoPetition.