Pierrefonds teen assists oppressed Senegalese youth
Published Thursday, September 13, 2012 7:30PM EDT
MONTREAL - A pair of Montrealers are going to Senegal in West Africa to help out young boys who are forced into a life of begging.
And one of those Montrealers is just 16-years-old.
Ann Pille has been given her requisite vaccines and packed her bags to help her aunt Karen Hornby deliver medication and other supplies to some of the estimated 50,000 talibe, as the enslaved Senegalese boys are known.
They are still bracing themselves for the moment they come face-to-face with some serious destitution and heartbreaking poverty.
“These boys are anywhere between three-years-old to 15 or 16,” said Karen Hornby.
Hornby is philosophical about the twist of fate that allowed Canadian kids to be raised in relative prosperity, while kids in other lands do not enjoy such comfort.
“I have a sister who has three boys and it could have been her sons if they were born in Africa,” said Hornby.
Human Rights Watch has expressed concern with the religious leaders who have turned the children into beggars and one Montrealer who has visited Senegal said that it’s a chilling site to see the boys in such appalling conditions.
“They basically never wash, they get diseases, they get terrible infections, they die, terrible accidents happen to them,” said Rod Leroy.
Ann Pille and her aunt Karen Hornby will be hauling enough donated medications to help out 600 of the boys and Karen has promised to help out with nursing tasks.
And young Ann is planning to be hands on with help as well, dealing with, “Cuts, scrapes, eye infections, stuff like that I'll be able to help with,” she said.
Ann plans document her experience for a school project, the assignment is to do something meaningful.
“I won the genetic lottery being born here, so I want to see what people are living with there so that I can help more,” said Ann.
As heart-breaking as this trip is sure to be, Karen and Ann say it's just the beginning of their charity work.