From the bustling streets of Dakar to the former capital of French West Africa, Saint-Louis, I traveled with an American study abroad group called SIT. While taking a photography course with a local professional photographer, we learned about Senegalese culture and practiced Wolof, the main language in Senegal.

I lived near the SIT school with a Senegalese family and learnt first-hand about local customs. Coming from an individualistic western society, I learned the importance of community support and preserving local practices.

Each night, every household would fill a large bowl with their leftovers for the young children begging on the streets of Dakar. Currently, these children experience severe challenges. In 2014, Aljazeera reporter Tamba Jean-Matthew III explained in his article entitled, “Senegal children face modern-day slavery”:

“It was estimated 50,000 children as young as three-years old are sent up to hundreds of kilometres away from home to big cities, including Senegal’s capital, Dakar, by their parents to gain religious instruction at “daaras” – but they end up begging on the streets.”