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Guineans are building the Alanouwaly Centre & their future
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Alanouwaly Guinea is built by local people

On my recent trip to the Alanouwaly Center in Guinea I found green sprawling hills with food growing everywhere, a community that shares it's food and resources, values respects it's elders and treats each other humanely and has a thriving artistic and musical culture. Women are very resourceful traders and have an amazing ability to sustain their families with so little! You think to yourself: is this the same region that is portrayed as starving, corrupt, poor, full of diseases with no skills and knowledge? 
Why is the biggest dream of so many their young to escape to Europe or America?
But at a second glance you see the problems: very limited access to clean water and sanitation, dangerous diseases, a lack of resources in many fields including education restricting their quality of life, prospects and life expectancy! Especially for women who are carrying a lot of the burden! People turn to marabouts (witchcraft) wasting limited incomes which results in suspecting & ostracizing community members and sometimes even spreading infections. People faced with overwhelming problems feel like powerless victims. It's hard to find the motivation and strength to affect change when you are  faced with just surviving everyday....
But this is where Alanouwaly is achieving a huge amount under the leadership of Seny Coumbassa, who has with our help and resources motivated more than 200 volunteers to build and look after the center. The current core of 20 young men (some of them pictured above) told me Alanouwaly Salifou Sylla is for and from them, they are working for it and protecting it. Here are some photos of their work and the place.

All hands on to get the window in
Clearing the land to create access road
Abdoulaye ("Bles"): "Alanouwaly helps us to go to school"
Around 7 young guys sleep at the center and Seny will wake them, give them money for drinking water at school and generally impress on them how important education is. They use the centre's bikes to get there. Schools lack a lot of resources so students can lose heart. Seny has been thanked by a number of parents for persuading young men to return to school. We will soon be offering ICT training which will increase their opportunities immensely. 
It is young men who are most easily disaffected. When Alanouwaly first started there was a lot of petty theft by the young around the centre, but over the years there have been huge improvements as they have gradually taken it upon themselves to protect the area from petty criminality.
Even the men in Guinea say that you can only progress through the empowerment of women. We need more women to benefit and join Alanouwaly. The problem is that they are so busy working to sustain their families: the jewelery coop, on right, we helped form could only work off site.
We have plans for an IT course aimed particularly at women to help empower them with information and skills.
Alanouwaly will soon be providing courses for schools where the ratio is roughly 50% girls. We want to contribute to the future of the next generation to have the tools to improve  their lives.
Alanouwaly Salifou Sylla is also a meeting place to exchange ideas, discuss and enjoy music. 
But Seny told me the rules are: no fighting, no stealing, treating people with respect. "you can discuss anything, but if you behave aggressively or dishonestly you will be asked to leave."
Bangali, a young musician: " I take part in Alanouwaly out of respect and love for Salifou Sylla, he is an example to me"
Alanouwaly Guinea also offers discretional social assistance where possible, e.g. recently with the cost of a volunteer's hernia operation.
I know many so called "economic refugees" in Europe, who are barely getting by, who have not been able to adapt to the European lifestyle, and might cut themselves off from their people in Africa as they can't meet their expectations. Losing your culture can lead to mental health and alcohol/drug problems. Your roots and culture give you belonging and identity and if you lose where you come from, you feel empty and alienated. I think there is so much value in the communal lifestyle of Africa. In Guinea I see people's ability to live in an environmentally sustainable way and to share their problems, skills and resources.
Happiness is found in working together with control over the process. Whatever religion you follow (or not), it's how you behave and what principles you hold that make a difference. Love for people, the deceased, the not yet born, the land and it's inhabitants is the motivator for Life. 
I see all this at Alanouwaly Salifou Sylla in Guinea. I urge you to support us and to pass on our information to widen our network. With your support we can grow this motivation to improve the lives of many Guineans, maybe making the escape to Europe redundant!
Thank you with Love
We are one world! 
Hanna
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Copyright © 2015 Alanouwaly Salifou Sylla Foundation, registered Charity No: 1156274, All rights reserved.


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