Projects Abroad Volunteer Programs in Senegal

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Senegal is a wonderful place to spend time volunteering abroad with Projects Abroad. Our volunteers work with disadvantaged children in kindergartens, care centers, and organizations for street children. Despite Senegal being one of the most stable and democratic countries in Africa, there is widespread unemployment with over half of the population living below the poverty line. This, among other issues such as HIV/AIDS, has left many of Senegal's children on the streets, sometimes with no family members to care for them. We hope you will join us and help make Senegal a better place!

Questions & Answers


based on 11 reviews
  • Impact 8.9
  • Support 9
  • Fun 9
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 11 of 11

Care project in Senegal

I visited Senegal for 5 weeks last summer to volunteer with a Care project. I chose this project because I wanted hands-on exposure to the medical field that I would not get in my hone country. The Projects Abroad staff were helpful in providing advice on which destination and project to choose, and they also booked my flights to Dakar for me. When I arrived a staff member picked me up from the airport and I met my host family that night. The house was beautiful, and my host parents and sister were so kind and very patient with my awful French.

My placement was only a five-minute walk from my house, and usually my work involved taking care of the kids with injuries. This ranged from basic wound cleaning and bandaging, to consulting the nurse in charge of the center on ore complicated cases (once, I even watched a finger amputation!). I really enjoyed this work and it constantly amazed me how resilient the children were.

Projects Abroad staff were supportive throughout my time in Senegal. They met one-on-one with volunteers and to make sure everything was going okay with the host families and that volunteers were happy with their program choice. Volunteers were able to switch projects if they wanted to. Overall, I would recommend this program for anyone who wants a real change from their home country and has at least a basic speaking level of French.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Two months in Senegal

I went to St. Louis, Senegal for two months to teach english at a local elementary school. After a week, I found that teaching at the school was not the right fit for me. Thankfully, the lovely staff members at Projects-Abroad were very helpful, and were able to help me change my project after just a day. I switched from doing the teaching project to the care project, where I worked at a care center for the local street children and children of the neighborhood. I was able to continue teaching english and had the chance to teach kids how to read as well. It was a much more enjoyable experience and I felt as if I was really making an real impact on their lives. I also helped with the health aspect at the care center which hard for me in the beginning but I began to really enjoy it towards the end. My host family was amazing, it was a very large, well to do family. Everyone was family there, the maid, the various first cousins and second cousins etc.., the friends of the family, and even the volunteers. They made sure we were comfortable and felt welcomed and that was incredible. Overall, Senegal was an amazing experience and I had a fabulous, safe, and interesting time.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Senegal always in my heart

It was my first time in Senegal but not the least! I fell in love with this country, those inhabitants... It was a wonterful experience! The PA's staff is adorable, my host familly was so lovely and the care mission was exciting. We're very useful.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Care in Senegal

Brilliant six months spend in Senegal teaching 3/4year olds. Everything well organised, my host family were fantastic. Felt like I really got to know the local community, and understand the day to day life in Senegal. No real difficulties, but obviously being a young girl in a West African city can have its issues, but at the same time I felt like we were in a pretty safe area. The PA staff were so helpful, and always available to answer any queries we had.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Most rewarding experience ever!

I went to Saint-Louis, Senegal through Projects-Abroad the summer of my junior year of high school. The program that I signed up for was the high school volunteer program that included language immersion. I stayed with a lovely Senegalese family and took private French lessons with a local teacher. I cannot begin to describe what a fulfilling and amazing experience I had in Senegal. While there, I worked with a group of other volunteers on a renovation project at a local primary school. Not only did I experience all aspects of Senegalese culture, I also had the opportunity to meet a diverse group of volunteers. I would gladly go back for the home cooked meals, the volunteer social events, and the beautiful river scenery!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Volunteer Experience in Senegal: INCREDIBLE!

Although I did a fair amount of research on volunteer programs before deciding to go with Projects Abroad, and even more research on the program and country of Senegal after deciding to go there, I still didn't know quite what I was getting into. In short, the experience exceeded my expectations in the most positive way, and I got more out of the opportunity than I ever thought I would.
The Projects Abroad staff was supportive and information from the first day I spoke with a representative before committing to the program well after my departure date from Senegal, even through this day. The on-site coordinators were always there to assist in times of need but were never overbearing. They always treated me as a friend, and with the utmost respect, making me feel comfortable in any situation while I was in Saint-Louis.
In Senegal, I had the opportunity to volunteer in both education and care placements, both of which I found incredibly fulfilling. Teaching English classes, I felt as though I was really making a difference in advancing the knowledge of eager learners of the language, and in the talibe center, I felt that what I did, along with the center coordinators and other volunteers, truly benefited the lives of children in great need. I would love to have been a part of more projects or continued my work at the school and at the center if only I had had the time!
I can still picture walking down the sandy streets, watching the little Senegalese children play football, and hearing them shout friendly greetings to me, as they did each day. Their voices, along with the kindness of my host family and all the Senegalese people who I came to know, and the great times I had with other Projects Abroad volunteers, I will always carry with me. I would not change a thing about my decision to volunteer with Projects Abroad in Saint-Louis, Senegal, and I recommend the experience to anyone.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Wonderful West Africa: Senegal and Togo

(Where are the parents? They should come too!)

I had two wonderful placements in West Africa and for these unforgettable experiences I will always be endebted to Projects-Abroad. Although young adults, especially students, predominate in these placements, older adults, especially those of retirement age, benefit as much, or even more. I think it is important to encourage older adults to break out of the confines of their daily routine and come with us on a placement with Projects-Abroad. Since the language of my two placements was French and since I had French lessons each day, I will write my review in both French and English.

D'abord en francais:

Je suis médecin et je vis avec ma famille à Wilmington en Caroline du Nord, aux États Unis. Bien que je fusse toujours pressé et occupé, je me sentais insatisfait et non comblé. Je suis allé au Sénégal où j'ai passé deux semaines avec une famille sénégalaise. Cette expérience m'a tellement ému que j'ai pris un autre placement au Togo, un petit pays pas loin du Sénégal.

Après un placement on est changé. on n'est plus la même personne. Après avoir goûté à une culture complèetement différente de la notre, après avoir été entouré d'une pauvreté inoubliable et inqualifiable où la vie est une lutte quotidienne, après avoir vu l'armée d'enfants qui dorment dans les rues, on ne voit plus dorénavant la vie comme auparavant. Maintenant on sent la peine du monde plus profondément, on crie. Soudain, les choses qui une fois étaient très importante, maintenant apparaissent insignifiantes. On sent une différence dans le coeur. On a grandi.

Mais, où sont les parents? Moi, pendant mes séjours au Sénégal et au Togo, je n'ai vu que les étudiants. Pourquoi? On m'a dit il y a longtemps que chaque jour de notre vie on devrait s'améliorer, qu'on ne devrait pas être aujourd'hui la même personne qu'on était hier et qu'on devrait utiliser la retraite pour accomplir toutes les choses qu'on avait voulu faire dans le passé: développer les talents, suivre des cours, étudier une langue étrangère, passer quelques semaines à l'étranger avec Projects-Abroad, toutes ces choses qui peuvent vous améliorer, qui vous feront grandir. Les parents, je m'adresse à vous, ces voyages avec Projects-Abroad vous toucheront profondément. Ces placements ne sont pas seulement pour les jeunes. C'est maintenant le temps de votre vie, après avoir beaucoup travaillé, après autant donné au développement et à l'éducation de vos enfants, c'est maintenant que vous devez tourner votre attention vers votre perfectionnement. Les parents, permettez à Projects-Abroad de vous introduire à une partie du monde que vous n'avez pas encore vue, une partie du monde qui est merveilleuse et fascinante, qui vous changera pour toujours.

Now, in English: Education is for all ages. It is not just for students but is for their parents as well. To me this is such an important issue that I will add a brief note in English to make this message available to Anglophones.

I am an American physician and I work and live with my family in Wilmington, N.C. After sensing an unfilled emptiness despite a very busy life, I took a placement with Projects Abroad to Senegal where I spent two weeks living with a black French speaking Muslim family. We both learned from each other in a warm loving atmosphere of exchange, as we ate our meals together, as I reverently watched them read the Koran and make their submissions to Allah, as i gave nightly lessons in US history and US geography and helped them learn English, as we shopped in the markets and visited extended family members in neighboring villages. Truly one of the most exciting cultural experiences of this trip came when I was guest of honor at a Muslim baptismal ceremony. This two week stay was a profoundly moving experience that changed me as a person and lead to another placement in the West African country of Togo, a placement which was equally life changing. I have since made two more trips to Africa. These trips make an indelible impression as you become a more caring person. Your concerns move away from self. You burst with pride at being an American. Your personal faith strengthens. My most moving experience was attending Sunday service in a very small Christian church, surrounded by mosques, here in this very Muslim country.

On these placements I have only seen students, never an older adult. WHERE ARE THE PARENTS? These are the people who should be making these trips! A friend told me years ago that I should always try to be a better person tomorrow than I was today, and that I should use my later years of life, especially the retirement years, not to pamper myself with pleasures and leisure, but instead to use this time to persue my own interests and talents, to take educatinal courses, persue music or art, travel, do something BOLD. GROW. Parents, this is our time in life to resume the education and growth of our youth, and a placement with Projects-Abroad will allow us to do this. Don't let us just spend our efforts and finances on developing our children. Our development is equally important. This is OUR time in life to develop ourselves. This is an invitation. Come with us to Africa on a Projects-Abroad placement.


I have a very productive and successful life but yet there seemed to be something lacking inside, some void. Projects-Abroad appeared to offer a solution so I took a two week placement to St. Louis, Senegal, and had one of the most deeply personal experiences of my life. This lead to another placement, to Togo, a small West African country not far from Senegal. These placements have a profound affect upon our lives. As we become part of a local family, as we do volunteer work in their community, schools and orphanages, as we work to improve their quality of life, we find that it is we who have learned from them, that we have become the pupil and they the teacher, that it is we, not they, who have benefited the most. We go to give and leave enriched. We learn that there is actually only one world nation. The needs and wants and aspirations of everyone everywhere are always the same, not changing according to skin color or geography or religion. We are the same everywhere, we and our brothers. This is the first, and most important lesson, that a volunteer learns from a Projects-Abroad placement.

In St. Louis I lived with a black West African French speaking Muslim family that totally welcomed me into their family. I had never before felt such an excitement as I became more and more emersed into this vibrant culture. My two weeks there were an unbroken, steady bombardement of the senses that was at times near overwhelming but always intense and wonderful and very personal. So many memories: the pain of such devastating poverty; the endless street children too young to have any understanding of the hopeless future that awaited; the hundreds of colorful fishing boats pulled up on the beach, nets bursting with fish; the steady pounding of the waves on a marvelously pure white beach that disappeared off into the far distance as strong Atlantic winds buffeted the crying sea birds above; the black clarity of the equatorial night sky set ablaze by the shimmering Milky Way; the bright tropical colors of the flowering robes and turbans worn by the trim black Senegalese women, their beautiful black skin made all the more striking as it contrasted against their robes; the mosques everywhere with their calls to worship chanted loudly above the noisy clatter of everyday life, these calls to Allah that I found so comforting as it turned my attention to my own faith; the crumbling of once grand French villas that recall those past times of French glory and harsh subjugation but that today have only a faded elegance that speaks sadly of a faltering economy; the wild goats everywhere, roaming around eating garbage, like unpaid street cleaners, keeping the city of St. Louis as tidy as can be expected.

What indelible impressions! But today, what do I remember most, when alone and quiet. Now four years later, I feel these emotions as intensely as if it were yesterday. I don't think about the dirt and decline but instead I remember the beauty of the people, their smiles and their welcome, as they worked so hard in their struggle of daily life. I remember beautiful bougainvilleas everywhere, a wonderful sprawling plant that seemed so hard to be trying to gloss over the dirt and pain. I remember these deeply religious people so proud and dignified as they faced their adversities. But, my most intense experience came one Sunday morning when, instead of the usual Muslim chants filling the air, I heard church bells. I followed these to find a wonderful old stone church built by the French 150 years prior. It was so beautiful inside, with every corner colorfully tinted by a bright African sun streaming in through striking blue stained glass windows, giving a soft glow that fell upon crosses and elaborate woodwork and huge vases of tropical flowers. The service was conducted in the beautiful French language and the music was a chorus of striking soprano voices that contrasted wonderfully against the deep rich sounds of African drums. A congregation of a hundred Christian sang the hymns that I knew by heart. All this was so unexpected and seemed so out of place in this Muslim world that it made it all the more beautiful, all the more moving, all the more my life's most unforgettable experience. Thank you, Projects-Abroad.

Clifford Lewis
1927 South Churchill Drive
Wilmington, N.C. USA
email: [email protected]

Yes, I recommend this program
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Amazing staff that was my life line when I took ill with Malaria

I traveled to Senegal a few years ago to volunteer through a Projects Abroad placement. It was my first time going to Africa and living with a family rather than at a hotel. I confess I was a bit uneasy about having to share a living space since I am in my late 20's... however, it was an incredible experiance and I look forward to traveling there again! St Louis is such a beautiful city with people who are so loving and welcoming.
Many reviews talk about how fantastic and well organized the staff is or the joy they felt while doing service work.... All are true for me as well. However, I decided to write my review because I ran into some difficulites there.
First- I have extreme food allergies due to a weaker immune system and not only was the program understanding of them but my host family went above and beyond to make sure that I was well fed! In a city where fish is a huge part of every meal I was very grateful that they were able to offer me other choices.
Second- Towards the last few days of my trip I suddenly became very very very ill to the point where I was unable to walk or speak or hold fluids. My host family not only made all the important calls (I was to ill to even keep my eyes open let alone call for help) but the staff at projects abroad took AMAZING care of me!!! They carried me quickly and safely to the hospital, made sure everything was translated and ensured that I go the best possible care. I was so out of it I only remember bits and pieces of the first 2 days I was ill but I remember being physically carried by staff (Im very tall so that could not have been easy!) and they ran all over town ensuring that I got proper meds. It turns out I had a very severe case of Malaria. They visited me in the "hospital", made sure I was being given proper care and medicine... then when they released me the staff ensured that I made it to the airport in one piece. When I landed in the US I quickly went to the hospital where I had to stay for a few more days. The doctors there told me that if it were not for the VERY fast acting staff members in Senegal I might not have made it because my immune system is weaken than most peoples.
I will forever be grateful to the staff members there for ensuring that not only was my volunteer time there fantastic but also for acting so quickly when I got sick.
Most programs do not have staff members within the same city that you are living. Projects abroad has staff within moments from you! They are caring people with great knowledge. When people ask me about volunteer programs I ALWAYS tell them about Projects abroad!!!

Yes, I recommend this program
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incredible experience

Incredible experience staying with a host family, improving my french, getting to know St.Louis, and doing meaningful volunteer work. I did first aid-work in local daaras, which helped direct my career interests towards medicine.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Being in Senegal for one month was a great exposure to African culture, cuisine and way of life. Locals were very friendly towards westerners; children would usually say "bon jour" and shake our hands. The first few days were difficult adjusting to early calls from the nearby mosque...but then you get used to it and sleep a little better. I volunteered in the Care project with Talibe children (street children) and to witness how they live was a tremendous eye opener; I couldn't believe my eyes to see young boys living in such dire conditions. But I also realize that having pity towards them doesn't help them. Instead, we provided them first aid under the direction of a nurse and a nurse assistant. It was very rewarding to give them basic treatments and affection. Long live Senegal!!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Most interesting two weeks of my life!

I went to Senegal through the special two weeks program for high school students. So not only were we able to participate in the French/community service project, the social scene was incredible due to an eclectic mix of people from all around the world. The experience was definitely worthwhile and as long as you are willing to open your mind to the different possibilities, you will end up falling in love with the locals, the other volunteers and the place. I want to visit again in the near future.

Yes, I recommend this program


Meet the Alumni

About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad is a global organization formed around the need for gap year programs abroad designed for students taking a break from studying. Since its inception, Projects Abroad has expanded to offer high school volunteer programs, and a vast...