|Top: Tostan office in Dakar, Senegal|
Bottom: Madeleine Balchan and other GCY Fellows
My father enabled me. I recognized something I wanted but couldn’t do on my own, and he gave me the help I needed to take things into my own hands and “run with it”. The most effective aid addresses the needs and wants of the receiver, and requires the end-user to push the ball along.
We had the opportunity to meet with Molly Melching, a woman who left the “developed” US almost thirty years ago to commit herself to service in Senegal. Her response to people who gasp and wonder at her having given up the luxuries of the States? “This is no sacrifice. I’m living here because I love it.”
TOSTAN is widely recognized for the number of villages that have ended the process of Female Genital Cutting. That was never a part of their goals. TOSTAN’s culturally sensitive educational approach to development empowers the community, but develops “only” in the direction, and “only” as far as, the community is willing to push their own snow-ball.
This Senegalese snowball has grown bigger, and broader, and farther than Molly Melching could have ever imagined or pushed it on her own.
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