Portrait of a volunteer: Mayssam

Mayssam is our second volunteer of the IVO4All project aiming to allow service civic missions abroad for young people with fewer opportunities. With GINKGO organization, she left for Senegal in June for a six month mission to work as an animator for socio-educational workshops.

Before volunteering, I was working in Paris as a beautician. However, remaining stable in one country is difficult for me since I was moving a lot when I was a child.  For me, engaging in a volunteering mission seemed like a good occasion to discover a universe completely different from mine, to go on an adventure, to learn new ways of working and to discover some new aspects of my personality.

Thus, I left for Thiès in Senegal to work for the « CEEDD » (in french : Centre d’Écoute et d’Encadrement pour le Développement Durable). This center is dedicated to women that are left behind in society – as in many countries of the world – and allows them to become independent financially. The CEEDD is composed of more than 350 beneficiaries and organizes in five departments:

  • The micro gardening pole: an optimized garden where vegetables and herbs are planted from recycled products such as water bottles. […]
  • The craft center: a workshop where women are trained in sewing and dyeing to allow them to make clothing. In 2015, two thought clothing brands were designated and created in this workshop: Trady Trendy and Assamane
  • The education center : a library with over 2.000 books available to local young people.
  • The health pole: for the information and awareness of people on hygiene and health matters.
  • The Microcredit pole


My versatile profile allows me to work within each pole of the CEEDD . Currently I work on promoting CEEDD:

  • Promoting our clothing brand Assamane and sell it in shops
  • Promoting our products from the garden and sell them in supermarkets and restaurants

CEEDD cares a lot about the environment and facilitates local development! Everything is done by volunteers and beneficiaries of the organization, whether it concerns our clothing or crops. Moreover, no synthetic pesticide or chemical product is used on our products.

My experience went very well; It is a completely different lifestyle. Life conditions may sometimes be hard (power cuts, water cuts …). However it led me to understand that a lot is possible with almost nothing.

On the weekends, I often come back to Dakar (where I have some family) […]. Dakar is a very animated city and allows me to change my lifestyle, more rural and local in Thiès.


Despite the differences, I am very happy here and do not regret having changed my professional course to engage in this mission. In fact, I would advise everyone to try this change of life and to live this unique experience!