In 2005, our circle of friends planned to finance a one-time selective aid for street children in poor Guinea / West Africa. However, we did not succeed in identifying a project worthy of support and trustworthy organizations on site. Therefore, we commissioned three students from a French university of applied sciences to identify the problems and needs of street children in Guinea and to propose possible solutions. To this end, the students spent three months in Guinea.
This resulted in the private initiative “Mamadou & Bineta” in 2006. The association is recognized as a non-profit relief organization in Guinea and in Switzerland. The board members work on a voluntary basis and the funding comes from them and their circle of family and friends. This ensures absolute independence, which we consider necessary in our demanding work with needy children.
Today we specialize in background and field work: Identification of the neediness and origin of the children, investigation of the concrete causes, legalization, literacy, enrollment and reintegration. This work is carried out by local staff mainly on the streets and in the children’s familiar environment. The staff knows that poverty will remain as long as the children have to pay the price of poverty. 50 children with severe traumatization are temporarily admitted to our reception center (max. 12 months). Ten very young mothers are undergoing training as dressmakers and their babies are being cared for.
It took us almost ten years to create a functioning, low-cost and corruption-free structure. All activities take place hand in hand with the state, which is ultimately responsible for child protection.
Namesake is the standard work “Mamadou & Bineta”, which has been used since 1950 in the French-speaking countries of West Africa. It’s a widely common teaching material for reading and writing in schools. Texts and bi-color illustrations tell stories from the life of the boy Mamadou and the girl Bineta (publisher: EDICEF, 58, rue Jean-Bleuzen, F-92178 Vanves Cedex).