Our History

This project was born thanks to the commitment of Mrs. Khady Koïta, a Senegalese woman from Thiès and Els  Leye is working the Gand university (Belgium).

Khady Koïta and Els Leye met for the first time in 1997, during a conference on harmful traditional practices in Dakar, organised by the Inter African Committee on Traditional Practices.

For many years, Khady Koïta has been traveling and raising awareness of the populations and decision makers on the suffering caused because of traditions, those suffered by women and children. Her journeys frequently have her speak on UN conferences in the name of La Palabre but also other humanitarian organisations.

As for Els Leye, she runs a research program on harmful tradition practices (FGM, forced marriage and violence related to honour). She has published several essays and led research projects in Europe and Africa. Els joined Khady's side in her idea to create a European network on Female Genital Mutilation, and together they set up this network together for five years.  

Simultaneously, many trips to Senegal linked to Khady Koïta's missions took place, mainly in the Thiès area. Sometimes Els Leye accompanied her, and they saw that there was a lack of organisations, shelter infrastructures and professional training programs to help the women and girls that suffered violence acquire financial independence and escape from violence. 

After many interventions with a wide public (doctors and nurses, students and pupils), the idea of creating an organisation, which first function would be to listen, help and orientate the suffering people towards the adequate institution, became a necessity. 

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That is how, in February 2006, La Palabre was created. It was destined to highlight a way of living, a specific European and worldwide widespread and recognised knowledge, and that would allow to raise funds for the main project: the construction of a shelter in the Thiès area. 

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The first realisation of the association was an evening school, that was created in 2007. Its goal is to bring children out of the streets while allowing them to build a better future. 

The Mame Diarra Diallo centre, which conception started in 2008, has the mission to welcome women and girls that have suffers violence, and to offer them a psychological, judicial support as well as a training to allow them to become independence and reintegrate into the society. We are hoping to open that centre on the next few months. 

An awareness and animation cell was also created to raise awareness on violence towards women and girls among young generations.