Children’s life in Golo Djigbé, Benin

Blue are their uniforms, sky blue shirts combined with dark blue trousers. They are proud to wear them, because they look smart, and they are smart, the pupils of Golo Djigbé. Most of them will take them off, once at home. They need to take care of their school uniforms. They are glad to wear decent clothes most time of the day. That’s why they’ll take them off and finish the day in a simple underwear. Their blue uniforms make them feel proud, and proud they are too when their performance is rewarded, with a blue or orange bracelet. All of them, boys and girls between 6 and 12 years of age, were eager to run the competition organized on 17th July this year, Sainte-Marcelline’s Day. They loved their coloured wristbands!

The schoolchildren are proud of their competition rewards

The schoolchildren are proud of their competition rewards

Neither books nor breakfast

Girls jump into my arms, they touch my hair, my skin and wonder why I am so different. One of them scratches my arm, looking for some darker skin. Ouch! They hold my hands and don’t want to let me go. They need the direct contact, they look for your physical affection. Most of them have a large family, but they have no books at home, no breakfast at home. Their school provides them with breakfast and one main meal each day. These children are lucky.

Benin schoolboys having breakfast at theit school in Golo Djigbé

Benin schoolboys having breakfast at theit school in Golo Djigbé

Anima sana in corpore sano

Their school in Golo Djigbé is special. It has been founded by the Marcellines‘ Sisters and Sister Clarice leads the whole school like a proper maestro! She wants her 400 children to be educated, to be dressed properly and to walk in shoes. She wants them to be able to think and knows that thinking starts in a sane body, a fed stomach. At her school Sainte-Marcelline, children also have a shower twice a week, and their uniforms will be washed twice a week.

Benin pupils learning rugby basics with Thibaud, 16, from MSF Lausanne

Benin pupils learning rugby basics with Thibaud, 16, from MSF Lausanne

Marcellines Sans Frontières Lausanne’s engagement

We, from the Marcellines French School in Lausanne, Switzerland, came occasionally to help her accomplish her mission. Our students developed a sports programme to promote health and well-being through physical exercise. Estelle Rousseaux and I chose to support primary and secondary teachers use new teaching methods, including new technologies. Sister Clarice dreams of a school where teachers don’t shout at their pupils, a school where children learn and blossom. She strives for harmony in their learning environment. She was very thankful to us for having encouraged creativity in the classroom and physical effort in the playground and on the sports field.

Golo Djigbé, French lesson taught by Danièle Talata in Benin using new technologies

Golo Djigbé, French lesson taught by Danièle Talata in Benin using new technologies

Golo Djigbé needs our help

We’ve left Golo Djigbé but we’ll come back, regularly. We want to help the children there in the long term. We want the children in Sister Clarice’s school, children in the orphanage and newborn babies in the maternity ward of Golo Djigbé to live the life that every child deserves: to live in a safe place and receive a decent education and the tools for success in their adult lives.

MILAN Magazine wants to help us. We’re so grateful.

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All images from Danièle Talata, Vice-president of Marcellines Sans Frontières Lausanne

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