Intercultural Language Mediation
Introduction: Who, what, where?
Nu Jange Ci: Intercultural Learning Mediation is an experiential-learning program for Senegalese youth in Yoff, Dakar run by Babacar Mbaye, a teacher for over twenty years at three different institutions, across the globe and across Senegal. The program empowers students to “come together across identities, borders, prejudices, emotions, and histories to exercise compassion responsibly.”
Projected Impact: The Next Generation of Leaders
With testimony from Bridge Year participants from all years, the impact of the Bridge Year Program cannot be overstated. Given the scores of opportunities available to Princeton students through the University, the impact on Senegalese youth is likely to be even greater: unparalleled opportunities for skill-building, NGO work experience, and career development; invaluably widened perspectives in travel across the country, engaging in independent activities and hearing speakers from a variety of fields and backgrounds; civic engagement; profound self-realization and self-exploration; social and community development; and engagement in service learning and direct work that pushes one to become a future leader aimed at making the world a fundamentally better place.
Furthermore, the project is destined to succeed. Babacar Mbaye has taught at three institutions over the past 20+ years, and has led NBYP Senegal since its inception. Babacar is not only the on-site director of all Senegal programs through the global education organization Where There Be Dragons: he is the heart and backbone of the Bridge Year program. He has opened his home to every Bridge Year participant and created pathways for each student to enable real cultural immersion, integration, and experiential learning. With a career spanning public school systems across Senegal as well as high-profile international education, Babacar is uniquely positioned with every qualification needed to successfully run this program. Partnering with trusted instructors and NGOs across Dakar with whom Babacar has built decades-long relationships, students will have every support and learning and engagement tool at their disposal to ensure that they maximally learn and succeed. This is a once-in-a-lifetime, unprecedented experience for students to engage in a program tailored specifically to their community, their needs, their growth, and their futures.
We would be so grateful if you would join us in inspiring and empowering the next generation of Senegalese leaders with every opportunity!
Donors to Bridge Year have invested hundreds of thousands into the program and the students, and by extension the greater community of Yoff. Over 395 students have been beneficiaries of the Novogratz Bridge Year Program (NBYP) since its inception in 2009. Each of these students have received a full scholarship for nine months to engage in experiential-learning and to travel abroad, amounting to an estimated investment of over $14.6 million. The program by nature is one that sends a group of educationally privileged students to an area for the benefit, growth, and development of these students, who often come from historically wealthy nations.
In contrast, the total funding goal of Nu Jange Ci is only $100,000. Through Nu Jange Ci, we aim to close this gap in access: to model sustainable international education, one that seeks to provide equal opportunities to all parties. The community that has hosted the NBYP for over eight years has not had access to the learning and travel from which Bridge Year students benefit. They continuously, however, provided endless hospitality and priceless resources to Bridge Year students for little in return. Lack of reciprocity in the field of international education has revealed itself in a long history of one-way, extractive programming. While Princeton students have traveled all throughout Senegal through the NBYP, Senegalese youth have often never had the opportunity to travel within their own country. While Princeton students continuously benefit from their time in Senegal, the wealth of resources within Princeton, and strong employment prospects, Senegalese youth suffer from a 19% unemployment rate, one 5% higher than the highest unemployment rate in U.S. history today in 2020. This absolute inequity is a problem. You are a part of the solution.
In the words of Babacar: “I am coming to you because of my deep faith in the good achieved by humans coming together. The tasks at hand are too big for any one of us to achieve alone: we need the beauty and complexity of our diversity. We have to come together across identities, borders, prejudices, emotions, and histories to exercise compassion responsibly. Bridge Year is impactful because it goes deeper than being purely transactional. Now that it is impossible for new students to participate and the transactions have ceased, what we have left are human connections and commitments to equity and diversity. . . I hope that you are willing to come not only because you are both a conscious giver and receiver, but in recognizing that you are part of the problem and solution.”
Yoff host families have spent years providing a home for Princeton students to experience life-changing learning; it is time that their own children have an opportunity to do the same.
Young Senegalese youth are in need of your support. In the words of Babacar, “Let us support the community that has welcomed NBYP students by giving them a chance to discover their own community in ways only their Bridge Year siblings and friends have had the resources to.”
These needs and this program need funding urgently! There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has presented difficulties to every nation and people; however, every nation has not been affected equally. As a wise Dragons instructor shared, “We may all be in the same storm, but some of us are in very different boats.” In Senegal, the informal economy, responsible for employing over 90% of the labor force, has all but stopped. The Yoff community and homestay households have been affected not only by these general impacts but also from the abrupt cancellation of Bridge Year and corresponding removal of jobs and industry that have grown from eight years of partnership with Princeton University. This leaves Senegalese youth more vulnerable than ever to inequities in education and employment prospects.
Nu Jange Ci is currently working ceaselessly to set up a non-profit foundation with the intention of moving forward with and funding the program annually sustainably. Due to the exceptionality of the year and COVID-19, our current focus is on funding the first cohort of Nu Jange Ci scholars.
We would be infinitely grateful to you for your support in the investment in the futures of Senegalese youth.
The funds will be used as follows:
Tier 1: $33,500 Program components, no instructor salaries
Tier 2: $70,000 Program components and part-time salaries for instructors
Tier 3: $100,000 Program components and full-time salaries for instructors
Program components will include professional language instruction, excursions, opportunities for students to engage in funded extracurricular activities, career development, community service, and monthly topics to focus group learning. For the precise breakdown of the program components and more information on every aspect of programming, check out our program page here. Jennifer Wagner, a trainer, teacher, and leader within the Nu Jange Ci team, will be withdrawing the money into her bank account and directly and immediately funneling the funds to Babacar Mbaye. She is responsible for overseeing the withdrawal and initial management of the funds. Babacar will then be distributing all the funds to the coordinators for each program component as each new learning component begins. This is by far the most efficient means of distribution given his deep and long-standing relationships with each of those with whom Nu Jange Ci is partnering.
Since 2012, the Princeton Novogratz Bridge Year program, headed by Babacar Mbaye, has funded nine months of experiential learning, service-learning, and cultural immersion for a cohort of seven incoming Princeton students. Babacar has opened his home, his family, and his astounding breadth of generosity, wisdom, and open-heartedness to his students. His community of Yoff, Senegal, has welcomed all eight of these cohorts and is a bastion of Senegalese hospitality, culture, and village life within the cosmopolitan capital of Dakar. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this community is now facing many challenges—the Novogratz Bridge Year Program has been cancelled for the 2020-21 academic year, abruptly removing a formerly consistent source of income across the Yoff and greater community.
Nu Jange Ci was founded by Babacar Mbaye, with the support of a team of Alumni from across years and cohorts. This project aims to take the opportunity presented by this year’s disruption to model what respectful and sustainable partnership in international education--especially long-term study abroad--can look like. Babacar and all our dedicated instructors will work tirelessly to support each of their students in their development and well-being, providing experiential learning opportunities for career exploration, skill acquisition, in-country travel, academic support, and civic engagement in Senegal. Thank you for standing with us to support and empower young Yoff community members.
Who are we?
We are a group of experiential educators from Senegal and the U.S. and Princeton University student alumni of the Novogratz Bridge Year Program from across the globe, including the head of the Nu Jange Ci initiative, Babacar Mbaye. Together, we form the Nu Jange Ci Team, dedicated to providing experiential educational programming and opportunities to Senegalese youth in Yoff, Dakar.
Your support will directly serve to empower Senegalese youth with every opportunity. It would mean the absolute world to us to have your support. Thank you so much for your gracious will. Sending the very best wishes to you and your loved ones during these times-- jamm ak jamm, peace upon peace.
- Aliza Herzberg
- iliana ioannides
- David Piegaro
Organizer and beneficiary
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