Today’s post is written by Amy Gilbert, a CAMA worker in Senegal.

Sometimes God simply asks us to serve as a bridge.

Every year the school where I used to teach in Nebraska has a fundraiser called “Penny Wars.” Each class competes to raise the most amount of money to be donated to a family serving overseas. This year my husband and I were quite honored to receive the gift as we now serve in Dakar, Senegal.

Since much of the money donated to us had come from children, we knew we wanted to use the money specifically towards helping children here in Dakar. COVID-19 has affected the poor significantly, especially low-income families with children.

We began to talk with a local church to learn how to best support the school children at an informal settlement. As a CAMA Senegal team, we have been building relationships in this community for over two years and exploring ways that we can help alleviate poverty and provide gospel access.

A CAMA worker joins the village chief in distributing backpacks.

After a few meetings, we coordinated with a Senegalese friend who helped us purchase and pack 125 backpacks with notebooks, pens, pencils, and other school supplies. We also purchased bags of rice for each backpack and a mosquito net for each child.

But as the date to deliver the bags approached, COVID-19 restrictions made our plans of a community-wide event impossible. So we continued to connect with the village chief and the local pastor and, after some prayer, God orchestrated a way for us to deliver all 125 backpacks.  

When the day came, we met with the chief of the neighborhood who briefly shared with us the needs of the community and his gratefulness for our help. Then he took us to meet a few families and later to visit the small school.

Amy sits with students outside the small school.

The families live in primitive conditions. The structures they live in are very small—often about 10 square feet. Each structure houses a family of five or more people. Yet, despite these conditions, I saw many bright, beautiful faces of children filled with joy.

I am grateful for many things about that day, but I think I cherish most the idea that I could serve as a bridge between kids giving to kids.