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From Keur Simbara to the White House

Written by CorpsAfrica/Senegal Exchange Volunteer Mr. Adnane Sounni

Influential people are those who impact or shape the way others act or do things, right?
Our Akhilleus that we will read about in this blog is Demba Diawara. 83 years old. He is the Imam and chef of Keur Simbara village. That man has done more for his village and several other villages than what other NGOs may have.
Demba Diawara has been working with Toastan NGO for nearly 20 years. He is engaged in a movement for the abandonment of female genital cutting and to stop child-forced marriage. He has walked to 348 villages to raise awareness concerning the wrong habits people in the villages practice. He never had a formal education; however, his commitment to his work made him gain huge respect in his community and elsewhere.
Due to his work as an activist, Demba Diawara received much recognition from world NGOs and even some other influential people. He traveled to London, Paris, Brussels, and Malaysia to assist conferences and pass training. He also visited United States three times, and among the people he met was the current US president Barack Obama in the White House, and the Former US President Jimmy Carter who offered him a signed copy of his book “The White House Diary”. He told me: “I spent three days with Jimmy Carter. He is a great man”
He knows Arabic and can read the Coran as well, that is why when I held a meeting with the community, he immediately stated: “the most important thing for us in this village is education, especially reading Arabic and Coran and knowing how to pray. We are so glad to have a volunteer that can help us learn Arabic and some Coran.”

I always enjoy spending time with my host grandparent and the whole family as well. While my Grandpa is preparing attaya (tea), we discuss his work as an activist, his achievement, the countries he traveled to, and the world-famous personalities he met.

Demba Diawara has the right to be proud of himself and his achievements as well. We can take him as an example to prove that the key to community development is the community itself. There are some people in these community, like Dembara, with some help can flourish.
I hope this blog gives you a little idea about this man because I am sure that it’s not sufficient to talk about all the marvelous things that man has done for the others. Anyway, we will meet him in other blogs for sure.

Thanks for reading. Meet you in other blogs.
Adnane Sounni



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