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21.10.2007 12:09

Joan Laporta to travel to Senegal

Marc Parramon

The Barça president will travel on Wednesday to Senegal in order to inaugurate an integral support centre for children, part of the FC Barcelona Foundation’s “XICS” programme.

The Fundación FC Barcelona has undertaken, with the support of the Senegalese ‘ASBEF' organisation, the Catalan “Barcelona Sida 2002” and the Richard Toll council, a project to create a solidarity centre for education and sport in Senegal as part of its XICS programme (International Network of Solidarity Centres).

What is the centre like?

Senegal_Marroc_febrer_025.jpgThe centre was designed by the Foundation with the collaboration of a local architect and in located in the north Senegalese municipality of Richard Toll. The 2 hectare site provided by the Council includes 450 metres of constructed area that will be used for classrooms, training rooms, a medical surgery, a dining room and a library. It also has a sports pavilion and a football pitch.

The centre will provide education, and health, nutritional and psychosocial care to vulnerable boys and girls aged between 6 and 16 years. This solidarity action will help reduce the risk of social exclusion that these youngsters face, with particular focus being centred on young girls.

New hope for Senegal

An FC Barcelona delegation will fly next Wednesday at midday to the African country, and will be made up of the leaders of the Fundación FC Barcelona international projects department as well as club president Joan Laporta, and vice president Alfons Godall. A team of reporters will also be travelling to give the visit the coverage it deserves.

This is a long awaited trip as it is the first XICS project to have been developed entirely by the club. The idea is to create an international network of solidarity centres using sport as the means to offer new opportunities and to guarantee such basic rights as education, health and free time to children in precarious situations. As well as the project in Senegal, the Foundation is also working on projects in Morocco, Brazil (through Edmilson’s foundartion) and Cameroon (through Eto’o’s foundartion).

Joan Laporta to travel to Senegal
The city of Richard’s garden
The Senegalese city of Richard Toll lies in the northeast of Senegal, close to the Mauritanian border. It is named after M. Richard, a French market gardener who established a farm in the area in the early 19th century. The word “toll” was added to his surname, which in the Wolof language, one of the most widely spoken in Senegal, means ‘garden’. Richard Toll is the largest producer of sugar can in the area, and is part of the region of Saint-Louis some 360 kilometres from the national capital, Dakar. The city is home to some 150,000 people.

In Senegal, and especially in the north, there are children known as “talibs”, who beg in the street and live in dreadful conditions, with very limited education and only very basic health care. FC Barcelona’s XICS programme will be making a priority of these children.

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